McCann responds to plagiarism accusations vs DOT ad

MANILA, Philippines – Following accusations that the Department of Tourism's (DOT) new ad was plagiarized, McCann Worldgroup Philippines has issued a statement, saying it did not intend to copy anyone's work. (READ: New DOT ad criticized for being 'unoriginal')

The DOT's new commercial, released on Monday, June 12, featured a blind man visiting various places in the Philippines. The ad, titled "Sights," ended with the new tourism slogan, "Experience the Philippines." (WATCH: DOT releases 'Experience the Philippines' ad)

After the commercial's release, social media users said it was similar to a South African tourism ad, which also featured a blind man's experiences in the country.

McCann, the group behind the DOT's commercial, said on Tuesday, June 13, that it interviewed foreigners about why they choose to visit the country and that it conducted research that showed that many foreigners have chosen to retire in the Philippines.

"Sights," McCann said, was inspired by a true story of a visually-impaired foreigner who chose to retire in the Philippines.

"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," it said.

"We take full responsibility as ALL ideas and storyboards presented were conceptualized by McCann Worldgroup Philippines," it added. 

The company stressed it had no intention to plagiarize others' work.

"However, we underscore that there has never been any intention to copy others’ creative work. McCann Worldgroup Philippines has always strived to adhere to our guiding principle, 'Truth Well Told,' in everything we do. We stand by the integrity with which this campaign was developed," it said.

The new commercial is part of the DOT's new campaign and slogan. "Experience the Philippines" has replaced the popular previous slogan, "It's more fun in the Philippines." – Rappler.com