Vlogger-podcaster Saab Magalona, who was one of those who posted the “#PandemicEffect” hashtag for the Belo ad, believes that the team should not apologize to her for the campaign execution.
The celebrity mom shared on Twitter that the people behind the Belo Medical Group have reached out to her to apologize and acknowledge “their poor choice of execution” after approaching her for the campaign.
Saab on August 1 shared a Facebook post reminding her followers to love themselves and then thanked the Belo Medical Group “for the reminder,” linking their Instagram account on the process.
“Over 500 days of struggling to answer the question ‘what’s the point?’ This is the #PandemicEffect. Still, I keep doing things that make me happy regardless of the uncertainty. Publish that podcast, record that song, put on your makeup even if you’re just at home,” she wrote before.
“Love yourself so you can add to the happy energy in this world! Thanks for the reminder, @belobeauty,” Saab added.
She also accompanied her post with a selfie.
By August 11, Saab said that when she was approached by the Belo team to post about the “#PandemicEffect,” she has not seen the advertisement at all.
“They simply invited me to post a reminder to love ourselves, especially during these hard times. So that’s what I posted: a reminder to keep doing the little things that make us happy amidst all the uncertainty. I used the hashtag thinking I was helping promote self-care and, understandably, people get upset after the ad aired!” she wrote.
Describing the ad as “100% insensitive and tactless,” Saab added that she wouldn’t promote or support a campaign that “highlights and shames” those affected by mental and emotional exhaustion especially at a time when everyone is “all just trying to stay alive.”
“Their team has reached out to apologize and acknowledge their poor choice of execution and while I appreciate it, I’m not the one that needs the apology,” she further said.
My thoughts on the #PandemicEffect ad of @belobeauty. As I’ve had my battles with depression and PTSD, I’m well aware of how triggering the ad was and don’t take offense at all for the backlash I received for being part of the campaign. pic.twitter.com/arjvoFCSIo
— Saab (@saabmagalona) August 11, 2021
Belo came under fire for its advertisement which featured a woman whose appearance changes as she watches a series of bad news. She grows fat, accumulates pimples and grows facial and body hair.
The woman then answers a video call from a friend who noticed her appearance.
The video cuts to a tagline that reads, “Tough times call for beautiful measures” and a call to book a consultation with the dermatology center.
It quickly received criticisms from some Filipinos who called out the medical-aesthetic clinic for “body shaming” women, especially amid a pandemic.
Saw the latest ad for Belo Medical.
Read the room. Promote your services, but not at the expense of people's insecurities. We're in a pandemic, and we're all just trying to survive. The last thing people need is an ad that points out body changes. Distasteful and insensitive.
— p a t r i c i a 🐣🧡 팻 (@expectopatramos) August 10, 2021
The pandemic has changed the lives of many. For some, it has changed their bodies too. There's no need to feel bad about it. And there's definitely no room for people to tell you how to reverse this just so you could fit in with society's beauty standards.
/body shaming/ belo ad pic.twitter.com/8AwLMtVLc4
— frisky ultd. (@FriskyUltd) August 11, 2021
In response to the criticisms, the Belo Medical Group took the video down on social media and issued an apology. It also said that it will consider the incident a “learning” experience.
GIGIL, the advertising agency behind the video, also posted an apology on its social media page and vowed to “learn” from the experience as well.