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Lawmaker criticizes PLDT-Smart for hiring foreign endorsers

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Rep. Ronnie Ong of Probinsiyano Ako Partylist called out top officials of telco giant PLDT for tapping foreigners as their products endorsers, branding this as a "misplaced preference".
Lawmaker criticizes PLDT-Smart for hiring foreign endorsers
File photo: Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin for Smart

Partylist representative hits PLDT, Smart

Ong, in a statement, expressed disapproval over the decision of PLDT to hire A-list artists outside the Philippine showbusiness.

The legislator claimed the Pangilinan-led telco is biased against Filipino talents, stressing "paying hundreds of million-pesos to foreign artists for the telco’s product promotions amid this pandemic that wrought havoc in our economy is immensely insensitive and unsympathetic, to say the least."

In January of this year, global sensation BTS joined PLDT's wireless arm Smart Communications for its banner 2021 campaign, seeking to penetrate the South Korean boy band's massive fanbase.

Two months after, Smart made a major announcement anew with "Captain America" star Chris Evans as its newest celebrity endorser.

In 2020, PLDT also tapped Son Ye-Jin and Hyun Bin, who both appeared in Netflix's Crash Landing on You, for its #SimpleSmartAko campaign. 

We understand the right of local companies to choose whoever they want endorsing their products but we would like to remind them to choose Filipino first just like when we remind our kababayans to choose Filipino products first, Ong said.

While PLDT has yet to react to Ong's statement, the group has been tapping local artists for its campaigns and product promotions.

Just this July, actress and host Toni Gonzaga, along with her family, joined PLDT Home for the #DoItBetter campaign.

Smart also tapped actress Anne Curtis-Smith for the #MakeTheSmartMove as the telco invites consumers to join the Smart family while keeping their existing number.

Actress and Eat Bulaga host Maine Mendoza is also the face of Smart's GigaPay.

Smart also tapped Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz as its endorser back in August.

Ong didn't comment on PLDT rival Globe's use of K-pop supergroup BLACKPINK. Other local companies like Bench and Penshoppe are also commissioning Korean stars to promote their products.

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