The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday described an Executive Yuan advertisement as “ridiculous” after netizens reported the ad as fraudulent to the management of video-sharing Web site YouTube, leading to its removal and the termination of the Executive Yuan’s account for “serious violation of community guidelines.”
The ad promoted the “Economic Power-up Plan,” the government’s massive stimulus plan to rejuvenate the economy, but “was a waste of taxpayers’ money and probably the worst ad in history because it told people nothing while supposedly promoting government policies,” DPP Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) told a press conference.
The 40-second ad showed four people — a young man, a ship owner, a female office worker and an elderly woman — staring cluelessly at a sign reading: “The Economic Power-up Plan” before a narrative cut in.
“What exactly is the Economic Power-up Plan? We would very much like to explain it to you in simple words, but it is impossible due to the complexity … The most important thing is that a lot of things are being done,” the narrator said.
“We might as well run until our legs break instead of just simply talking,” the narrator added.
In addition to being aired on TV, the ad was also uploaded to YouTube under the account “Cabinet168” yesterday. However, so many viewers “flagged” it as inappropriate, saying the commercial and the government were fraudulent, that the video was taken down and the account suspended by YouTube.
“A government account being suspended by YouTube … Our government has became a global joke,” DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said, adding that the Executive Yuan “shouldn’t have produced the commercial if it assumed people would not understand the policy no matter how the government tries to explain it.”
Cabinet Deputy Secretary-General Huang Min-kung (黃敏恭) said the video ad was the second in a series of five video clips aimed at advertising the Economic Power-up Plan.
Former Executive Yuan spokesperson Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉), while still in office early last month, came up with the idea to promote the core concept of the economic stimulus plan in ads to get people to pay attention to the proposal, Huang said, adding that the core concept was: “To boost the economy, just do it.”
At a press conference held at the Executive Yuan yesterday afternoon, Huang described the removal of the ad from YouTube as a “windfall” in a sense that “now everyone knows that we have the Economic Power-up Plan.”
Under Hu’s plan, the video would have been also aired on TV channels and played in movie theaters for two weeks, but “now I have decided to withdraw all advertising,” Huang said.
“The removal of the video has caught everyone’s eye,” he said.
According to Huang, the Executive Yuan spent NT$1.19 million (US$40,832) producing five video clips and NT$1.75 million broadcasting them.
Before the video was uploaded to YouTube, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Steven Chen (陳士魁) had a chance to watch it, Huang said.
Huang said the video was also shown at a meeting of ministry spokespeople, including himself, on Tuesday before it was uploaded.
Asked how the spokespeople felt about the ad, Huang said: “At first, we did not understand it at all. But at the end, we realized that the purpose of the ad was to make the Economic Power-up Plan a catchy name and convey the idea that the way to boost the economy was to ‘just do it.’”
He added that the Executive Yuan has contacted Google Inc, YouTube’s parent company, to find out why the ad was pulled, but has not yet received a response.
When contacted by the Taipei Times, the corporation’s department of communication said in a written reply that “we are currently analyzing the situation” and will reply to the questions soon.
No further reply was received as of press time.