Thailand's ad industry is maybe most famous for its "sadvertising" – those super-long, elaborate, heart-wrenching tales that pull every possible trigger to make you weep before trying to sell you something. This year, though, some of the Thai ads that stood out most were funny or eccentric.
Here's a completely subjective pick of Thai ads worth watching. They range from zany (about a woman's bizarre quest at sea for better skin) to deep (a tale about why you can't always believe what you see on social media.) Plus, as a bonus, we're throwing in one over-the-top crazy spot. There's not much sadvertising here, so if you're in the mood for a good cry, you might try watching this fast food ad from the Philippines' Jollibee's fast food chain.
He's a total pill
This very wacky and meta ad from McCann Worldgroup Bangkok opens with a scene of a cop hatching out of a giant pill capsule in the middle of a road. It was a big award winner, and you may have caught it at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. As with many Thai ads, you don't find out what's being advertised until the very end. We won't spoil the surprise.
Whale of a tale
This ad for a product called Ocean Skin is about a woman who would do anything for an amazing complexion. And it involves what can only be described as a money shot involving a splash of whale secretions. The ad went viral in China, another country where perfect skin is a major preoccupation.
So here's an unexpected cure for road rage – a nasal spray to help clear your head. This is a commercial for a product called Peppermint Field. The best thing about it is the hilarious actor who plays the buddy trying to calm his friend down.
A cure for getting dumped
Visa made a 15-minute (15 minute!) ad about a Thai girl wandering around Tokyo after a nasty breakup. But it's got some dark humor too: The opening shot involves sushi so fresh that it's actually squirming. The heartbroken heroine sees the doomed sea creature as a metaphor for her own life: "Dead but alive, just like me."
Let's get deep for a moment
Why is 7-Eleven giving us all a lesson about the dangers of social media? Who knows. But this spot feels timely, and there's a plot twist partway through that is pretty deep. This is an ad from CP All, which operates 7-Eleven stores in Thailand.
Bonus WTF ad
OK, we're cheating here. This is actually an ad from 2016, but it went viral internationally in 2017 when it was picked up by Asian Crush, getting tens of millions of views. We certainly couldn't call this a "great" ad; for one thing, it seems to be fat-shaming its leading ladies. With all those caveats out of the way, here it is. No, it's not an ad for copy machines, or for futuristic plastic surgery, though you might think that along the way. It's actually plugging a product called Naturegift Coffee 21 that's supposed to have a slimming effect. Enjoy the madness.