An advertising agency in the Philippines, DDB Philippines, has apologised for using footage from other countries, including Bali in Indonesia, in their tourism campaign called “Love the Philippines.”
The campaign video featured footage of rice terraces from Bali, sand dunes from the United Arab Emirates, and an aircraft landing in Switzerland.
DDB Philippines acknowledged that while using stock footage in mood videos is a common industry practice, using foreign stock footage was an unfortunate oversight on their part. They admitted that the campaign video should have gone through a proper screening and approval process.
Christina Garcia Frasco, the Secretary of Tourism for the Philippines, stated that the Department of Tourism (DOT) had repeatedly asked the advertising agency to confirm the authenticity and ownership of the materials used. According to Frasco, DDB Philippines reassured the DOT that all the materials used were original and belonged to them.
The “Love the Philippines” campaign, which cost US$900,000, was launched on 27th June 2023. The use of foreign footage in a national tourism campaign was initially exposed by the French news agency AFP and Filipino blogger Sass Rogando Sasot. Sasot pointed out in a Facebook post that the video featured a lake from Thailand, rice terraces from Bali, the Cumbuco desert in Northeastern Brazil, and sand dunes from the UAE.
Frasco stated that the department would hold DDB Philippines accountable for the video, which has since been removed. The company also pledged to assist the tourism department in their investigation.
The Tegalalang rice terrace in Bali is a popular tourist attraction located approximately eight kilometres from Ubud. It can be reached within 15-20 minutes from the centre of Ubud and is known for its breathtaking scenery.
The rice fields in Tegalalang also serve as a testament to the preservation of the traditional Balinese irrigation system, known as Subak, which has been in use since the ninth century.
UNESCO has recognised the Tegalalang rice terrace in Ubud, Bali as a World Heritage Site. This heritage site encompasses five rice terraces and water temples, covering an area of 19,500 hectares.