This article has been updated with McCann Worldgroup Philippines' response.
After embarrassing accusations of plagiarism over the latest "Experience the Philippines" campaign, the Department of Tourism has officially cut ties with their agency McCann Worldgroup Philippines.
Published on Rappler and written in shouty uppercase letters, the four-paragraph statement begins with "After a diligent review of the ad materials in question, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has decided to discontinue its partnership with McCann Worldgroup Philippines."
It also mentions that the department expects a public apology from the agency over the uproar that the ad has caused.
The DOT announced that they're looking for new advertising ideas, but only those "with fresh and original ideas that will showcase our diversely rich tourist destinations and unique Filipino hospitality" are encouraged to join.
The same statement is on DOT's Facebook page—albeit in calmer lowercase.
The controversial advertisement, titled "Sights," which featured a supposedly true story of a blind foreigner opting to retire in the Philippines, bore a striking, er, resemblance to a South African tourism campaign. The country also incidentally worked with the agency's South African chapter.
McCann Worldgroup Philippines has, however, stressed that there was no intention to copy.
This issue is the third copycat accusation that the department has had to deal with.
We're hoping the keyboard is safe.
Hours after DOT's now viral statement, McCann Worldgroup Philippines sent Esquire their own press release on what happened. In a letter just as succinct (but not in angry uppercase), the agency starts with "We learned yesterday afternoon, through various news reports and the press conference held by the Department of Tourism, that it has decided to discontinue its partnership." Talk about a 21st century breakup. The letter also mentions that the DOT has not yet given them a formal termination of their contract.
According to various news reports, the contract was worth P650 million.
As for McCann, they only feel "regret" by the termination but according to the statement, they respect the decision. We notice, however, that they have not—at least not yet—issued the public apology that the DOT is demanding.
Contact information has been erased.