The decision came after the agency admitted to using non-original or stock footage taken in other countries in the audio-visual presentation that was part of the launch of the enhanced tourism branding campaign last week.
The DOT said in a statement that it expressed solidarity with Filipinos who were outraged by the use of foreign footage in the campaign that was supposed to showcase the beauty and diversity of the Philippines.
“The DOT reserves the right to change, suspend, or discontinue temporarily or permanently the contract at any time should the DOT deem the agency incapable of the project,” the statement read.
The agency added that no payments had been made to DDB for the branding campaign and that it will conduct an investigation to determine the extent of accountability and liability of the agency.
DDB Philippines has since publicly apologized for the blunder and said that it was an “honest mistake” that was not intended to mislead or deceive anyone.
However, under the terms governing DOT’s contract with DDB, “material/s produced by the winning bidder should be original and aligned with the DOT’s advocacies.”
The “Love the Philippines” campaign was launched on June 27 as part of the DOT’s efforts to revive the tourism industry that was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It aimed to inspire Filipinos to rediscover their own country and to promote domestic tourism as a way of supporting local businesses and communities.
The DOT said that it will continue to pursue its tourism recovery plan despite the setback and that it will work with other stakeholders to create a more authentic and effective branding campaign for the Philippines.