Thanonchai Sornsrivichai, Phenomena

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Thanonchai Sornsrivichai, while a star in his native Thailand, is a bit of an enigma Stateside. But his internationally lauded laffers for Smooth-E and Bangkok Insurance, among others, have inched him toward the tipping point of notoriety. The latter, out of Creative Juice G1/TBWA, like Smooth-E, has racked up accolades on the festival circuit, including a Creativity Award from yours truly. As for what made the campaign so successful, "The point of it is the unpredictable," Sornsrivichai says. "It's all about the things that cannot be real, that are almost impossible."

Although his work tends toward the bizarre, the director starts from an approach that favors the real over the preternatural. "The [most] interesting thing in this world is the human," he say. "I am interested in advertising which reflects human beings, that can get into human feeling and thinking."

JEH United founder/CCO Jureeporn "Judee" Thaidumrong, who handpicked the director for Smooth-E and a new Sylvania ad starring a gaggle of funky ghosts, believes it's"his attitude" that makes him so good. "In the 20 years that I've known him, I have never seen anyone work as hard as he does," she says. "All his special talents came from his nonstop learning and practicing. Two years ago, I asked him, 'You're number one now, who will you be competing with in the future?' 'My last year's showreel,' he replied."

His growing international acclaim (and our growing fondness for Thai advertising) could mean Sornsrivichai is moments away from a breakthrough in the U.S., though he's not in any rush for the bright lights and big cities that beckon. "I would go for Hollywood," he says. "But I'm not waiting [around] for it." (KA)
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