MCCANN Worldgroup Philippines, the advertising agency that produced the Tourism department’s new campaign for the Duterte administration, on Tuesday denied the allegations it committed plagiarism with its “Sights” tourism campaign.
“In working with the Department of Tourism, we have been inspired by the many stories we have seen and heard about why foreigners choose to visit the Philippines,” the agency said in a statement.
“Many of them have spoken about our innate warmth, the genuine friendships they have developed here, our hospitality that extends to a sense of family, and the many reasons why it is the Filipino people that truly make it ‘more fun in the Philippines’.”
“Our research has also shown that, of the millions of visitors who visit the Philippines, thousands of foreigners from over 100 countries have chosen to live and retire here.
“Our latest film ‘Sights’ was particularly inspired by the story of a visually-impaired foreigner who has made the Philippines his home and who has come to experience the Philippines in different ways.
“We acknowledge the feedback that the way this story was told may have similarities with the South African tourism campaign.
“It is unfortunate that the DOT has been called out and accused of plagiarism for work we have done to highlight the testimonial of a real retiree.
“We take full responsibility as all ideas and storyboards presented were conceptualized by McCann Worldgroup Philippines.
“However, we underscore that there has never been any intention to copy others’ creative work. McCann Worldgroup Philippines has always [strove] to adhere to our guiding principle ‘Truth Well Told’ in everything we do.
“We stand by the integrity with which this campaign was developed.”
According to the posts on social media, both the Philippines’ and South Africa’s videos featured a blind man who experienced the world through senses other than sight.
The man’s disability is not revealed until the end of both the Philippines’ and South Africa’s videos when he pulls out a walking cane.
The striking similarities on both videos sparked questions among social media users.
Just hours after the DoT launched a promotional video in a new tourism campaign on Monday, several netizens on social media slammed the DoT saying it had plagiarized a foreign country’s tourism campaign, citing its resemblance to the one released by South Africa in 2014 that went viral.
The new Philippine tourism video features blind Japanese retiree named M. Uchimura, who explored some of the country’s best known tourist spots.
The DoT has not yet issued a statement regarding the accusations of plagiarism.
Similarly, in 2016 Tourism Quebec in Canada released a tourism video also featuring a blind man.
Quebec’s video also went viral.
However, unlike the Philippines and South Africa’s promotional videos, the blind man’s disability was revealed early in video.
The makers of Quebec’s video were also accused of plagiarism, but the ad agency that handled the video denied the allegations.
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