Most of us often dread ads, and can’t wait to skip them when they pop up on any screen we’re on. However, some of them can be quite memorable and fun to watch, especially if they are not something we’re expecting.
One country that is known for churning out iconic and viral is the Land of Smiles – Thailand. Though they often deviate quite a bit from the typical 30-second duration of most television commercials, these ads are nonetheless memorable in that they often generate a myriad of emotions, which makes them great ads.
With that said, here’s our list of 5 viral Thai advertisements that either made us laugh or cry…or both.
1. Thai Life Insurance
Image adapted from: Thailifechannel
When it comes to iconic Thai ads, the one that should be on the top of everyone’s list is the one by Thai Life Insurance. And for good reason – the ad has garnered well over 110 million views since it was first published in 2014.
Titled “Unsung Hero”, the ad features a common everyday man performing small acts of kindness, like giving up his chicken drumstick to a stray dog and making monetary donations to a mother-daughter pair begging for money for the girl’s education. The ad is accompanied by a voiceover narration which talks about how the man continues to do such acts of kindness happily, despite not getting any recognition or anything in return.
So what was it about the ad that made us tear up? Well, it had to be the end scene when the man finds the daughter not in her tattered clothes, but in a school uniform returning back home. The ad showcases how acts of kindness, no matter how small, can go a long way in impacting others’ lives – not only for those being helped, but those performing said acts as well.
Who doesn’t love a heartwarming ending?
2. KA Lip Care
Oftentimes, plot twists are unexpected, and leave us chuckling at the sudden turn of events. And that’s exactly what this ad by KA Lip Care did.
The storyline for the ad is a pretty simple one: one guy aggressively confronting his schoolmate for allegedly rejecting his sister’s romantic advances. The plot twist comes when the latter – who remained cool despite being confronted and roughed up a little – reveals that he did in fact reject the sister, but only because he was attracted to the guy. The ad ends with him taking out the KA Lip Care balm and lovingly applying it to the other guy’s lips, and flirtatiously reminding him to use it often, so that he’ll remember how his lips felt like.
On the whole, it was a funny lighthearted ad, with a plot twist at the end. Kudos to the team behind the ad too for making it an inclusive one with an LGBTQ+ theme.
3. Chaindrite Insecticide
Image adapted from: Tyas Rahma
The next one on our list is not just one, but a series of commercials by insecticide brand Chaindrite. Featuring actors in full-sized costumes of common household insects, the ad showcases various comical interactions between them and humans, while highlighting how the Chaindrite brand of insecticide is very effective in killing these pests.
What made us laugh was the level of commitment that went into the acting – not only were the insect actors very convincing, but also overly dramatic which added to the humour.
If we had to pick one, our favourite has to be the last one in the compilation. This is where the ad ends in dramatic fashion when the ant colony is initially elated that one of them returns seemingly unharmed after being sprayed by Chaindrite, only for him to eventually die in the arms of his fellow ants. It’s an ode to your typical emotional slow death scenes in movies, and certainly executed in a great way!
4. National Cancer Institute
Image adapted from: VELVET
Be warned, this one is a real tear jerker.
Garnering over 3 million views on YouTube, the ad from Thailand’s National Cancer Institute depicts the story of two sisters, the elder one being sensible and good-natured while the other being a wild child and living a havoc life. The story culminates when the younger sister finds out that her sibling has cancer, and the two reconcile with flashbacks of their younger selves playing and taking care of each other.
What made this ad very memorable was how it successfully evoked a strong emotive response from the viewers; coming from the angle of the love-hate relationship of siblings, something that most people can identify with, almost to the point where it makes us think of our own siblings.
It was also nice how they tied in the message of the ad at the end, by saying how the gift of hair was more than just the hair itself, but hope to carry on living. This went hand in hand with the original intention of the ad, to get people to donate their hair for cancer victims.
5. Thai Health Promotion Foundation
Image credit: Werbewoche
Rounding off our list is an ad titled “Bok Choy” (yes, the vegetable), by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation.
In essence, the ad’s story is about a nurse who is desperate to fulfil her master’s dying wish for some Kwang Toong vegetables, and so goes to great lengths to procure some to bring back to him. However, it turns out that eating the Kwang Toong – which were out of season – is toxic, and so resulted in a funny plot twist at the end with the master puking his guts out.
There’s also a pretty hilarious scene between the nurse and a Kwang Toong farmer midway, but we won’t spoil it for you.
Overall, we liked how the ad brought us on a whole tangent with the nurse’s journey, only to be sent back crashing into reality with the message of the ad that eating out of season vegetables was dangerous.
It got us invested in the nurse’s struggle and eventual triumph, and made us go “what!” at the end, but that rollercoaster of emotions is what made this ad very successful.
Viral ads from Thailand
Even though Thai ads can get quite long in terms of duration, we like how they deviate from the usual short and snappy commercials like we’re used to, to deliver more impactful messages and evoke more emotions within us.
These 5 ads are only a small sample size of the many funny or heartwarming ads that Thailand produces, and going by what we’ve seen so far, we’re sure future Thai ads will leave us in literal tears, either from laughing or bawling our eyes out!
Cover image adapted from: Thailifechannel, Tyas Rahma