So as not to waste the research I just engaged in to find all of these Thai commercials, I'm going to put them in a post.
There is this one about getting your nose out of your electronic devices. It's a commercial put out by DTAC, the largest mobile phone company in Thailand. (No, the irony is not lost on me, but it's still an extremely well-done spot with a good message.)
This one, with the message "Giving is the best communication," appears to be from a different mobile phone company. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) It squeezes an entire heart-warming story into three minutes.
This beautiful ad, from a lingerie company, of all things, manages to fit in not only a great story but also a surprise ending, though it takes seven minutes.
And I'm actually going to embed the one I just saw today, for a life insurance company:
It looks like the (presumably) Buddhist Thais understand something that a few Western Christians don't get about keeping your promises to your disabled spouse.
I've known some people who have spent quite a bit of time as missionaries to Thailand, and from everything they have said I have concluded that Thai culture is not in general heartwarming. Child prostitution (to mention just one thing) is so huge and so blatant in the big cities in Thailand that some Western countries have passed laws penalizing men who travel abroad (with Thailand as one destination) to engage in pedophilia. My missionary friends have repeatedly referred to the country, which they love, as "dark." They say this while acknowledging the darkness in America.
So what gives with the sentimental but also profound Thai commercials? These are commercials, too, that you have to pay attention to. They're brief but they aren't soundbites. In the story ones, the story unfolds gradually, and you're supposed to be following it, not just spacing out between football plays. They have visual subtlety, which is part of their charm. The messages are important, not merely gratifying. In fact, they could be seen as convicting to some segments of their audience. The one that shows all the people disappearing because of an over-focus on electronic devices is a tacit criticism of a large swathe of the population. The lingerie commercial criticizes a false notion of female beauty. And as for the Alzheimer's one--what can I say? Nor are they all from a single company, so the appeal of this type of commercial must be fairly widespread.
I really have no brilliant conclusion to draw here except to note the phenomenon. Whatever effect these commercials have in Thailand, we in the West would do well to learn from them.