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Another Tearjerker – The Popularity of Thai Commercials on Weibo

A new Thai commercial by ‘Brand’s World’ company was recently shared on China’s social media. The touching ad campaign shows that starting a business comes with trial and error. It is yet another addition to Thailand’s rich collection of tear jerking and successful commercials that are shared on Weibo and strike a chord with netizens around the world.

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A new Thai commercial by ‘Brand’s World’ company was recently shared on China’s social media. The touching ad campaign shows that starting a business comes with trial and error. It is yet another addition to Thailand’s rich collection of tear jerking and successful commercials that are shared on Weibo and strike a chord with netizens around the world.

The Thai film & TV Weibo account Tianfutaiju recently shared a commercial by the Thai nutritive drink company Brand’s.

The 5-minute-commercial shows how a young business man quits his job to start his own noodle shop, following in the footsteps of his father. The moral of the story is that it takes some failure before success can be reached (see featured video).

“This made me cry,” one netizen says. Another person comments that “Thai commercials are like small movies.”

Thai Recipe for Success: “Sadvertising”

Throughout the years, several Thai tearjerking movie-like commercials have become very popular on the internet. These Thai commercials, internationally acclaimed, mainly focus on narrative and plot – and are indeed similar to short movies.

These popular Thai commercials are often themed around family ties and tell stories about personal challenges. They also convey morals about being selfless, valuing life and relationships, and not giving up.

Due to their touching narratives, strong actors, qualitative film work and emotive music, it is difficult not to tear up while watching – which is why Ad Age has called them “sadvertising”.

sadvertising2014 Thai ad ‘Sister’ for National Cancer Institute.

One of the instigators of these kinds of Thai commercials is ad film director Thanonchai Sornsriwichai (ธนญชัย ศรศรีวิชัย), who had huge success with his videos for the Thai Life Insurance.

The biggest hit was the 2014 commercial ‘Unsung Hero‘ (Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok), about a young man who does good things for others every day and gets rewarded in an emotional way. The video was watched 28 million times on YouTube alone. Thai Life Insurance and Sornsriwichai also teamed up with Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok in 2011 for ‘Silence of Love‘, a touching commercial in 2011 about a daughter who gets teased about her deaf-mute father.

unsunghero3Scene from ‘Unsong Hero’

Another moving Thai commercial by Sornsriwichai that went viral worldwide is the 2013 short film ‘Giving’ by mobile company TrueMove, which also focuses on a good-hearted noodle shop owner whose one generous act towards a young boy unexpectedly becomes a changes the destiny of him and his daughter 30 years later.

givingScene from ‘Giving’ (2013) by TrueMove.

By now, these tear jerking commercials have become so popular that internet users now challenge each other not to cry while watching them.

According to Wall Street Journal, one of the reasons why these Thai commercials are so successful is that they often do not focus on the product they are promoting, but are about setting a general mood. Because they are relatively short films, they are also perfect to share on social media.

Popularity of Thai Ads in China

Thai commercials are popular on Sina Weibo, where some accounts are even fully dedicated to sharing them.

Apart from the recent noodleshop business ad, the 2016 Haier ad that shows a monkey moving in with a family is also making its rounds, just as the 2014 Samsung commercial about friendship and hope or the 2015 CP Foods commercial about a runaway daughter and her mother’s love.

runawaydaughterScene from ‘Every Mouthful is Meaningful’.

Both Thai and Chinese traditions put much emphasis on the importance of family relations and filial piety, which is as important in the Buddhist tradition as it is in Confucianism (Kapur-Fic 1998, 390). Although Thailand’s ‘sadvertising’ uses themes that are universal, they especially strike a chord for those valuing respect, obedience, and care for one’s parents or elderly family members.

Although the noodle shop ad is about succeeding in business, it is also about honoring tradition and listening to your parents. A 2014 Thai commercial about donating hair for the National Cancer Institute also emphasizes the importance of family and taking care of each other.

“Thai ads are just so well made,” one Weibo netizen says. “Gosh, I am just overwhelmed with emotions,” another person comments about the Cancer Institute Commercial: “I’ve already seen this before, and still it makes me cry.”

6 Must-watch Thai Tear Jerking Commercials

Here is a selection of popular and acclaimed Thai emotional commercials. Please be warned: if you’re going to watch, get your Kleenex ready.

6 Must-watch Thai Tear Jerking Commercials

Here is a selection of popular and acclaimed Thai emotional commercials. Please be warned: if you’re going to watch, get your Kleenex ready.


Brand’s World Thailand (2016): ‘Children Life Line’.


CP Foods (2015): ‘Every Mouthful is Meaningful’.


Thai Life Insurance ad ‘Unsung Hero’ (2014) / dir. Thanonchai Sornsriwichai.


TrueMove commercial ‘Giving’ (2013) /dir. Thanonchai Sornsriwichai.


Thai Life Insurance ‘Silence of Love’ (2011) / dir.Thanonchai Sornsriwichai.


Thai National Cancer Institute commercial ‘Sister’ (2015)

– By Manya Koetse

References

Kapur-Fic, Alexandra R. 1998. Thailand : Buddhism, Society, and Women. New Delhi : Abhinav Publications,

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Fashion & Beauty

Chinese Fashion Brand Peacebird Accused of Plagiarism (Again!)

The Chinese fashion brand Peacebird turns out to be a copycat.

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The Chinese fashion brand Peacebird (太平鸟) is trending on Chinese social media this week for its alleged involvement in various cases of plagiarism. The brand is accused of producing exact copies of garments designed by other labels. Hashtag “Peacebird Repeatedly Accused of Plagiarism” (#太平鸟多次被控抄袭#) drew in over 230 million views on Weibo.

In late October of this year, fashion blogger and small fashion brand @SOS_SEAMSTRESS called out Peacebird on Weibo for plagiarizing one of their designs.

Besides changing the material used for the garment, the Peacebird outfit is an exact copy of the design by SOS Seamstress – even the buttons and pockets and other details are exactly the same. The price, however, is five times higher.

Left: the Peacebird garment. Right: the original design by SOS Seamstress.

Left, Peacebird. Right, SOS Seamstress design.

SOS Seamstress condemned Peacebird for claiming to have their own original fashion designs, produced by their in-house design team, while actually stealing from others and completely disregarding the rights of domestic local designers.

It is the fifth time this year that the fashion house is accused of plagiarism. Beijing Business News reported that other brands, including Mostwantedlab and Annomundi, previously also accused Peacebird of stealing their designs. In February of this year, the artist @LOONY_FACE also publicly exposed Peacebird for using his designs without his permission.

Left Annomundi, right Peacebird.

Left Annomundi, right Peacebird.

Chinese netizens have further researched other clothing brands that Peacebird allegedly plagiarized, including UNALLOYED, Moussy, Off-White, FREI, Maje, and other domestic and international brands.

Design by Maje (left), and the dress by Peacebird (right).

Various Chinese media outlets, including Beijing Business News, call it noteworthy that Peacebird’s response to these plagiarism accusations is not an apology but a simple statement that “original brands can go through legal channels.” Meanwhile, the company has allegedly also taken down the designs that have been pointed out as copies.

Peacebrand is a fashion retail brand established in Ningbo in 1996. The company also holds various smaller brands such as LEDIN (乐町) and Material Girl. The fashion company claims to have approximately 12,000 employees in its stores, headquarters and factories. In 2018, it made its first debut at New York Fashion Week.

Among all the people commenting on this issue, there are many who think that although ‘borrowing’ popular designs has always been a part of the fashion industry, doing an exact copy is uncommon and unacceptable – especially for such a large company as Peacebird. “Shameless!”, multiple commenters say.

“I once bought an embroidered garment at Peacebird’s, and then later saw the same design from a brand I didn’t know. I thought it was copied from Peacebird, but now I think it might’ve been the other way around,” one person writes.

“I’m shocked that the national brand Peacebird would plagiarize while waving the flag of originality,” another commenter says.

“Plagiarizing one time, ok, but plagiarizing so many times and then even doing one on one copies, how can they run a business?!”

There are also those who hope that the current focus on Peacebird’s alleged plagiarism will lead to more attention for smaller, original brands in China.

To read more about the recent surge in popularity of domestic brands in China, see: “Chinese Fashion First: Consumer Nationalism and ‘China Chic’.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Food & Drinks

Hotpot Chain Haidilao Is Shutting Down Over 300 Restaurants

After adding 544 stores in 2020, Haidilao will close 300 locations this year.

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News that China’s most popular hotpot chain is closing down over 300 restaurants became a top trending topic on Chinese social media site Weibo on Friday.

Haidilao (海底捞) made the announcement on Friday evening through a social media post, saying the company will gradually shut down about 300 of its stores. The restaurants that are to be closed are those with relatively low customer traffic and lower-than-expected business performance.

Although the stores will be shut down before December 31 of this year, some of them will potentially reopen at a later date after reorganization. The company also said it would not lay off its staff for now.

Haidilao has approximately 1600 restaurants, of which many were opened in 2020, when the chain added an astonishing 544 new restaurants. In the summer of 2021, Haidilao had a total of 131,084 employees.

It has been over 25 years since Zhang Yong, the owner of Haidilao, set up his first hot pot restaurant in Jianyang, Sichuan, with a mere investment of 10,000 yuan ($1470). It later became the dominant hot pot chain in the country.

Hot pot restaurants, where fresh meat and vegetables are cooked at the table in the simmering broth, are extremely common across China. But Zhang Yong chose to market Haidilao and its authentic Sichuan hot pot with an innovative strategy: high-service, high-tech, and high-quality.

The restaurant is known for giving its customers a free manicure along with snacks and drinks while waiting for a table. The staff is thoroughly trained in providing the best customer service, and Haidilao has introduced new concepts throughout the years to enhance customer experience. People who dine alone, for example, will get a teddy bear to join them. The restaurant also introduced robot waiters and is known for its noodle dancers and staff singing birthday songs whenever there is a birthday celebration.

Want a bear to join you for hotpot? Haidilao’s got you covered.

Over the past two years, however, Haidilao’s table turnover rate shrunk dramatically. The average table turnover rate in 2019 was 4.8 per day, but that number fell to 3 times per day in 2021, with some restaurants only doing 2.3 per day, leading to significant losses for the company’s net profit.

Due to the Covid19 crisis and lockdowns, Haidilao closed its doors in late January of 2020. By mid-March, it started to gradually reopen some of its locations, although they initially offered fewer seats and introduced an increased distance between dining table, that were allowed to have no more than three guests.

Due to the restaurant’s limited tables and increased labor costs, its menu prices went up, much to the dismay of many netizens, who already thought the prices at Haidilao were steep before the pandemic.

In October of this year, the story of a Haidilao customer in Zhengzhou discovering that the 200 grams of tripe he ordered for 72rmb ($11) was actually only 138 grams also went viral on Weibo, stirring discussions on the Haidilao menu prices.

While news about Haidilao closing so many of its stores attracted over 260 million views by Friday night, many commenters agreed that the company should scale down. “The more stores you open, the less you focus on service, the surroundings of the newly opened stores are not up to par, while prices are only rising,” one person wrote on Weibo.

“They’re not making enough money, while their prices were already being pressed down, and still I can’t afford to eat there,” another commenter wrote.

Others also wondered how Haidilao could claim they would not sack their staff while closing down so many stores. “Does that basically mean they’ll wait for them to leave for themselves?”

“When there’s a pandemic, there’s bound to be bad luck [in business],” another commenter writes: “There’s really not much to do about it.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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