Thailand is well-known in the advertising world for its entertaining TV commercials. In fact, they are the best thing about Thai TV, which I'd probably actually watch more of, if only there weren't the annoying soap operas and inane variety-game shows.
A lot of film directors in Thailand got their start making TV commercials. Among the more notable are Wisit Sasanatieng and Pen-ek Ratanaruang. Occasionally, during their film careers, they have gone back to making commercials to earn a living. Several of their commercials are available for viewing around the net. They used to be on the Film Factory website, but that's been redesigned. Twitch has them (look under clips), and some are on YouTube as well.
Another film director who made commercials was Ratana Pestonji. He closed out his career making adverts because his critically acclaimed movies did poorly at the Thai box office.
In recent weeks, I've come across the mention of Thai television commercials on other blogs. Here's a roundup of three of them.
First, a Sylvania light bulb commercial, via Boing Boing Gadgets.
I love how the ghosts are explained. Several of these ghosts appeared in the recent animated feature, Nak, including the krasue, the Kra-Hung (flying ghost), the hungry ghost (tall ghost) and the banana stalk ghost (in Nak, she wielded bananas as weapons to slip up the bad guys).
Next, via 4am Expat, a compelling ad for Shera ceiling board.
So tragic. Makes me think of granny gecko in Citizen Dog. I think it also might be referencing a scene from Bang Rajan, of the lovers who die in battle.
Last, a risque ad for Black herbal toothpaste, which I came across via the comments section of a posting on Boing Boing about the "We Are the World" parody by Japanese impressionists. The comments addressed the use of blackface by the Japanese performers, who are pretending to be Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Ray Charles. The issue is also sure to be controversial when the upcoming Ben Stiller comedy film Tropic Thunder with Robert Downey Jr. in blackface is released. More after the video.
The toothpaste commercial is extremely politically incorrect. But in Thailand, making fun of the color of someone's skin or appearance is no big deal. Just don't pat someone's head, point your feet at them, or step over anyone. Those are grave offenses.
Many other Thai commercials are available for viewing on the web, but these are three that I recently came across and felt like sharing.