MANILA, Philippines - The ad agency of Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manny Villar on Wednesday defended its "Scroll" TV ad, which has been widely compared to the "Truth (Upside Down)" political ad of Argentinian candidate Lopez Murphy in 2006.
In a statement, TBWA\Philippines admitted that it adapted the Villar ad from the Argentinian politician's ad. The agency said it belongs to a worldwide network of ad agencies and that many of its ideas for ads have been adapted in several countries. Among its ideas are ads for adidas, Pedigree, Absolut, Apple and Nivea.
"The fact is, many ideas of the local agency have been adapted in many countries in our network, the most recent of which is the work it had done for Absolut vodka. That's how powerful ideas become even more powerful," the agency said.
It added: "While the ad format was adapted from The Truth ad by TBWA\Argentina, the message is genuinely Manny Villar's. And it hopes to inspire a country deeply steeped in hopelessness, negativity and cynicism."
The agency said that while the local adaptation of the Murphy ad has generated positive feedback, other sectors have used the ad to attack the Villar campaign.
"From the outset, the adapted format was made known to our Client. The agency did not conceal the truth. That's the truth. And nothing but the truth," it said.
A post on the Barrio Siete blog (https://barriosiete.com/argentina-the-philippines-and-the-manny-villar-connection/) was the first to make the connection between the Villar ad and Murphy's 2006 ad. The ad, which was created by Recrear advertising agency, won the silver lion in the Cannes Lions Contest in 2006.
In both ads, a voice starts talking about the problems besetting the country and how the president cannot solve these problems. While the voice is speaking, the lines of dialogue appear on the screen one by one in descending order. The ad then takes a shift in tone as the candidate reads the lines from the bottom going up, indicating that the candidate sees things from a different perspective.
In an interview, NP senatorial bet Gilbert Remulla said he did not know if the new TV ad was intentionally copied from the Murphy ad.
"What we know is that it tested very well. For us, the message is more important. We can't be accused of plagiarizing anything because the execution is different," he told abs-cbnNEWS.com.
Below are the two TV ads as posted on YouTube: