Was it or was it not? That is the question.
It didn’t take very long after the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DoT) unveiled its new promo video before charges of plagiarism were hurled against the advertising agency that won a P650 Million contract to help market the Philippines to the world.
Netizens and others immediately noticed the uncanny similarity between the video and a previously-released South African tourism promo. Both featured a blind man experiencing the sights and sounds of either country.
Initially, the DoT denied that the new video was copied from South Africa, arguing that the Philippine version was based on a real-life experience of a Japanese man who now lives in the country.
But then, almost immediately, thereafter, the DoT announced that it was ending its contract with the ad agency, McCann Worldgroup Philippines.
If DoT believed that the ad agency did not plagiarize or copy the South African video, then why would it terminate the contract?
So now, many questions have arisen that the DoT needs to answer, including its bidding process in awarding contracts, and whether or not the ad agency was (or will be) paid for the controversial promo video which I would assume, will no longer be used going forward.
The bottom line is that the funds used to compensate private agencies to help the government promote tourism come from taxpayer money and that a more stringent vetting process should be in place.
But another question that still needs to be answered is whether or not this video controversy has created a dent in the country’s efforts to promote tourism, not to mention the time lapse between now and when the new video is produced and disseminated.