Crazy Creative Thailand


Most people think Thai commercials are depressing short movies, and it’s true that Thai ads, especially insurance ads, have a reputation of being tearjerkers – I analyzed one in a previous blog post, and here are some more for those of you who love a good cry:

Feeling like a child yet? Good. Now it’s time to broaden your view on Thai advertising: they can be funny too, and usually not the witty and sarcastic type of funny, but the very blunt and ridiculous type. I’m telling you, RIDICULOUS. And they don’t have to be 15 minutes long either. For example, this one PSA (public service announcement/ad):

Isn’t that insanely simple? Don’t you feel so pumped right now to go get some work done and contribute to your glorious nation? I’m just amazed by their ability to turn something so simple, which is stop drinking, into a profound and meaningful lifestyle.

Still craving for more videos? Check these out, but only if you’re not easily offended by sexual/sexist content or horrible video quality:

Sorry it took you longer than you allowed yourself to finish reading my post. I just thought if you were like me, you would be able to spend all day watching (good) commercials too. So after half an hour watching Youtube, what do you think? I can see THEIR WHOLE CULTURE imprinted on these ads! Ok maybe not their WHOLE culture, but a handful of them: gender stereotypes, openness to sexuality, beauty standards, patriotism, etc. Isn’t it wonderful how you can learn so much about a country through their commercials?

In short, Thai ads are crazy creative. Or maybe Thai ads just speak to me because I’m a Southeast Asian. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!




So we’ve been talking about music in advertising for a while, why not take a break and look at advertising in music?

In his article, Tom Barnes raised an issue of artists willing to include product placement in their lyrics or music videos for monetary deals and how it will gradually devalue music.

Who Doesn’t Love Mozart?

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Classical music.

Some despise and refuse to learn more about it. Some like it but don’t know enough to understand it. Some just don’t get it although they’ve tried.

I was scared of it. It always sounded beautiful to my ears, but without the proper training, I couldn’t appreciate it to its fullest potential. My vocal classes bring me closer to classical music and provide me with some basic tools to analyze it. If you’re like me and can’t yet grasp the brilliance of classical music, rest assured that it’s pretty brilliant.

The current situation of classical music encourages the use of it in TV commercials, not only for aesthetic values but also as a means to maintain its influence in media and in society. As the live listening experience plays a big role in appreciation of classical music, concert halls and music festivals have been extending their creative effort to reach the mass audience from very “non-classical” ways:

I am mildly annoyed by the 1st ad because of the lack of variety in their dance moves and because I don’t think the advertiser picked the best classical piece for twerking. However, I cannot deny the influence that the K-Pop group has on a large number of young people, which will help spread awareness of classical music.

Due to the limited access to music in the past, ones who were privileged enough to go to concert halls were usually royal and/or rich. Thus, classical music gives an impression of nobleness and elegance, which is why it is featured in commercials of cars, phones, and other technological innovation ads.

Some of these ads don’t even mention the features of the products, but focus on creating a sleek and innovative atmosphere to suggest a well-off life brought by the use of the products. Moreover, just as classical music takes outstanding cleverness and genius to compose, these products require extreme skills and dexterity to produce. Therefore, putting classical music side by side with technological innovations indicates a matching duo that’s well accepted by the audience

In an attempt to break free from this precedent, Lexus created a backlash when their commercial referred to classical music as old and out-fashioned to contrast to Lexus’ freshness and youth:

Fans were outraged at the ridicule of one of the greatest forms of art, especially when it was Mozart, “who wrote some of the most perfect, refined, classy, timeless, and exciting music ever written.” Lexus then had to revise their commercial as an apology to music lovers and also a proper praise to the glorious classical music.

Classical music also makes great soundtrack for scenes that are larger-than-life, hard to believe, or sometimes even supernatural. Ads with this type of music usually feature gigantic and surreal scenery, spectacular displays, or brilliant man-made creations, like the one in the Japanese phone ad above, or this one:

In case you missed it, that was one very big ad. In this case, classical music playing in the background not only describes a magnificence scene but also creates a comical effect by dramatizing the actions in the videos. Overall, classical music is very serious in nature; therefore, video producers sometimes use it in scenes featuring silly and funny acts to create a dramatic and hilarious contrast.

That were probably the most videos I’ve ever included in a post. Have more examples? Share with me in the comment section below!

Commuter Playlist

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Who else loves blasting music while driving?

I know I would, once I get my driver’s license…

Anyways, in an effort to promote its 2016 ILX’s 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, Acura came up with a social media campaign in which it collaborated with eight musicians to compose a music playlist that matches the intensity and speed of the eight gears:

The campaign, targeted millennials, was executed across multiple platforms including Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and SoundCloud. The artists themselves also utilized their social media presence to advertise for both their music and the car model.

Another great feature of this campaign was that the music is free and downloadable for you commuters! My favorite are #3, #4, and #6. What about yours?

Summoning All Senses

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As people crave to satisfy their senses, advertising also thrives to approach consumers from multiple sides and provoke their reaction in various aspects. Multisensory experiential advertising has done very well in capturing people’s attention and participation and introducing new and creative ways to interact with the audience. TV commercials, though not allowing a full multisensory experience, also take advantage of this technique to promote the brand using different modes: text, image, motion and sound.

In fact, multisensory appeal is considered one of the most important practices in television advertisement, according to Neil Kokemuller, writer and content media website developer. The combination of graphics and sound creates an effect that’s larger than the sum of both parts, as they stimulate the audience simultaneously and awake as many of their senses as possible. In other words, multisensory ads will overwhelm viewers (in a positive way) and pull them into another world that’s full of assets they can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste.

Dr. Ryan S. Elder and Dr. Aradhna Krishna from the University of Michigan conducted a research on The Cognitive Effects of Multi-Sensory Advertising on Taste Perception, focusing on food commercial. Their studies suggest that multiple-sense ads lead to significantly higher taste perceptions than single-sense ones, therefore, increase brand awareness, purchase intentions, and brand attitudes. The Marketing Science Institute also explains how waking up multiple senses at the same time plays a big role in engaging viewers, as the complex human body and mind can memorize and recall thousands of different scents, smells, tastes, and the like.

Multisensory advertising is even more important in our era of multi-tasking, when we usually listen to music while working, or watching movies during our meals. We are constantly looking for activities that engage all our senses in order to maximize our experience and satisfaction. Life is getting faster and more exhilarating than ever, as shown in commercials made by global payment business Barclaycard:

My first reaction after watching these was, “I WANT ONE!!!!!!!!!!!”. By ONE I mean one ride, not necessarily a Barclaycard. Still, the larger-than-life-but-somehow-might-be-doable experience shown in the ads, the first-person camera angle, plus the joyful music and realistic sound effects here and there, encourage viewers to imagine themselves experiencing the rides.

Lastly, one way to “cheat” multisensory effects into TV commercials is to record people’s reaction to real-life experiential advertising. Not only do these videos express brands’ creativity, gain lots of attention from the crowd, but they also show brands’ dedication to surprise and please customers, since some of these campaigns require expensive, high-tech features.

Where Has This Been All My Life?

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Sir John Hegarty

Sir John Hegarty

iV/iV2based in Tennessee, USA and Frankfurt, Germany, is an advertising agency specialized in audio branding. In its blog, iV/iV2 features Great Minds On Music, a series of interviews with leading advertising professionals, notably Sir John Hegarty. The series is conducted by iV2‘s President and award winning songwriter Uli Reese, who is experienced in creating music for global brands like Coca Cola, Sony, Reebok, etc. Other than its blog, iV/iV2 also gathers the latest news on audio/sound branding on and Twitter. These are great resources for those who are interested in the topic of music in advertising, like me!




Seriously, Linh, why did it take you so long to find this?

Repost: Thai “Sadvertising”

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This is a copy of my Storify post.

As visual technology and cinematography evolve, people’s expectation for films, commercials, video games, and the like also becomes higher. The modern viewer doesn’t only look for pure information and appropriateness but also care more and more about aesthetic values. Therefore, advertising needs to do more than just educating consumers about the products; it needs to deliver stories and provoke emotions that hit people so hard they will remember the brand. That’s how “sadvertising” was born, or as Rae Ann Fera of Fast Company pointed out in her article, “We can’t just be straightforward; we have to reach people emotionally. Now everyone’s crying.”

While Rae Ann Fera provided a very insightful summary of the “sadvertising” trend, she only mentioned the music effect twice, which I don’t think does music justice. Although music is not the main and unique feature of “sadvertising”, it adds a lot to intensify the emotions and trigger the tears. Talking about tears, I want to bring back this gem from 2011:

If you’re not crying right now, then I have failed miserably. Nonetheless, this is how most normal people react to the ad.

There are several analyses of this ad online, but I like this one because it mentions a distinction in culture that made the ad a big hit in East Asia. Nevertheless, let’s focus on the soundtrack of the ad.

This orchestra piece is the instrumental version of Ee Jook Il Nom Eh Sarang, OST of a Korean drama called A Love To Kill. It started out slow with uneven rhythm, creating a sad and serious feel to the commercial. The pitch range is fairly wide, and it reaches its peak when the ad reveals whether the daughter survives or not, which increases viewers’ sentiment. Similarly, the dynamics a.k.a volume rises to a crescendo towards the end of the video, which shows emotional flashbacks of the father and the daughter. All these musical elements play a big role in affecting the viewers’ mood and enhancing their watching experience, as demonstrated by Nina Hoeberichts in her bachelor thesis.

Her thesis also discussed different types of music and when advertisers use them. In this case, the instrumental version of the song is more appropriate than the lyrical one because the lyric is about man-woman love and, more importantly, because the audience needs to focus on the visual and verbal content of the commercial.

I also tried listening to the soundtrack by itself:

It’s a very nice piano piece, but standing alone, it cannot make me cry. Now THAT is the beauty of advertising: a great story and beautiful background music work together to create a masterpiece.

A Day as a Wikipedian

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“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

– Aristotle

Most of us are familiar with Wikipedia, the “multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation and based on a model of openly editable content,” according to itself. Everyone with an internet connection can sign up to be a Wikipedia contributor; therefore, not all information found on Wikipedia is reliable and correct. This is the reason why most teachers and professors advise students not to use Wikipedia for researching purposes. However, we can’t deny that Wikipedia has its strengths and, used wisely, can be a great resource and social platform. Today I will talk about my experience being a Wikipedia contributor, or a Wikipedian, as I call it.

What makes Wikipedia special and innovative is that it is an open-source, free-for-all platform where people get to practice writing about topics of their interests. It fulfills the needs of non-scholars looking to share their knowledge with the world without having to go through formal procedures.

For example, from the research I’ve done on music in advertising, I am confident enough to share what I’ve learned with people in my community, not only in the country but around the world. Wikipedia allows me to create or edit articles quickly and globally at no cost. There are plenty of resources on the topic of music in advertising; however, very little of them are shared on Wikipedia. The main community covering this topic has been established, but don’t seem to put too much effort into enriching Wikipedia database. I picked this article, which provides a brief for my blog topic because it is still fairly raw in both content and style, which is easier for a beginner Wikipedian like me to contribute. I first started off with the grammar and styling errors, then moved on the content and added a reliable source collected from my blogroll to back up some of the article’s arguments. The coding system of Wikipedia is fairly simple, mostly because there are plenty of precedents on the site or in the article itself.

Screenshot 2015-04-03 01.13.19

Current issues of the article

Screenshot 2015-04-03 01.53.18

Wikipedia editing screen

The second great thing about Wikipedia is that no one is alone. With a community of 24 million contributors, one can almost find someone with similar interests to co-write and co-edit articles. On the one hand, Wikipedia’s co-editing feature helps the contributors expand their social network and deepen their understanding of the subject. On the other hand, having multiple authors work on the same article also benefits Wikipedia itself as it gathers and synthesizes the opinion of different people, probably coming from different backgrounds, to form a neutral, non-biased voice.

Moreover, the awareness and pride of being part of the Wikipedian community also encourages contributors to write more responsibly and collaborate for the good of all, as demonstrated by Aristotle quote at the beginning of this blog post. There have been 50 revisions of the article I edited, written by 27 contributors including me. Most of us tried to get rid of the grammar errors and improve the style of the original article. Some added categories within the articles, which helps link it to relevant topics. Technical issues such as broken links or citations were also taken care of. Vandalism was found and fixed the same day.

Revision log

Revision log of the article

Whenever there’s teamwork, there’s a question of whether the members cooperate well with each other. However, Wikipedia’s guidelines and the fact that everyone can see and revoke a revision at any time ensure that the latest version is likely to be the best one. Being able to contribute to Wikipedia not knowing how long that contribution will survive the criticism of other co-writers requires bravery and open-mindedness. The incentive of being a Wikipedian as discussed by scholar Stacey Kuznetsov is a sense of “accomplishment, collectivism, and benevolence.” In order to complete this goal, it is best that contributors phrase their opinions in a neutral voice and be patient when discussing with co-writers, especially when you write about issues that base heavily on personal taste like music in TV commercials. Last but not least, prepare to compromise and always practice goodwill.

Identity – Engagement – Currency

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In this blog post, communication planning specialist Vyshnan Ranjan explained the three main ways in which music affects brands: Identity – Engagement – Currency. Ranjan is currently a member of Carat UK, the world’s first media independent in 1968 and now Europe’s largest media network. He touched on a very important point that I’ve discussed in my previous posts, which is the use of pop music in branding:

“Many brands make the mistake of trying to look modern and cool by whimsically choosing a big pop hit and crudely overlaying it on their ad. This doesn’t show depth of thought and neither does it represent their brand fairly. Currency through music requires a deeper understanding of where your brand fits into the bigger cultural picture in society. It is what music appropriately combines your brand and your message with your target audience’s culture.”

– Vyshnan Ranjan