MANILA (UPDATE) - If she had her way, Sen. Nancy Binay said the Department of Tourism (DOT) should penalize advertising and creative agencies producing "unoriginal" works following criticism on the new "Experience the Philippines" promotional video.
"We should start penalizing ad agencies for giving our departments, especially the DOT, ripped off creative handles or not-so-original work. It compromises the integrity of the government agency, as well as the ad agency itself," said Binay, chair of the Senate Committee on Tourism.
The DOT on Monday launched the video "Sights" for its newest tourism campaign made by advertising agency McCann Worldgroup Philippines.
The video featured blind Japanese retiree M. Uchimura, who explored some of the country's best-known tourist spots in the north. The material drew flak from netizens for glaring similarities with a 2014 South Africa tourism video.
"Mukhang hindi pa po tayo natututo sa nangyari sa mga nakaraang pagkakataon na hindi original ang logo, slogan, o design," Binay said.
Binay noted that previous tourism campaigns of the DOT also drew criticism for uncanny similarities with other countries' concepts.
These include the “Pilipinas kay Ganda” logo in 2010, which was said to have been lifted from Poland’s tourism logo, and even the “It’s more fun in the Philippines’” campaign, which was similar to the “It’s more fun in Switzerland” tagline in 1951.
Binay said that advertising contracts between the DOT, including its attached agencies, and the advertising agencies tapped to create the campaigns should have a legal clause or a disclaimer that the contractor would either be penalized or no longer be paid if it was found that the concept or ad was copied.
"Pera ng taumbayan ang ginagastos ng DOT para bayaran ang mga ad companies. Tama lang na maging accountable sila 'di lamang sa DOT, kundi sa taong bayan. Everytime the ad is aired, taxpayers' money is being spent," Binay said.
The senator said ad agencies should be obligated to reveal whether their material had similarities with previous campaigns.
"Dapat maging honest at magkaroon ng full disclosure ang mga ad agencies para 'di kahiya-hiya ang Pilipinas," she said.
DOT officials should also be more discerning of the concepts presented to them, Binay said.
"Nasa DOT ang final say ng mga in-execute na ads at mga collateral, dahil nasa kanilang area of responsibility ito. It also saves them the time and effort in defending the material that comes out," she said.
The DOT was allocated P650 million to implement a new tourism campaign under the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, Sen. Cynthia Villar expressed opposition to changing the country's old tourism tagline "It's more fun in the Philippines," arguing that the campaign reflected the identity of Filipinos.
"I think we are really fun-loving. Filipinos are really fun-loving. Kahit tayo maraming problema, masaya pa rin tayo, hindi tayo nalulungkot," she said. -- with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News