It seems as if Asia’s current economic crisis has led the majority
of clients to slash budgets and has left the average agency hiding
behind safe and predictable ads.
However, despite the doom and gloom, a few agencies in a few countries
are still fighting the good fight and turning heads with some decent
There is no country that illustrates this commitment to raising the bar
more than Thailand.
A recent commercial for PTT Performa Gold (petrol) from Leo Burnett,
Bangkok, does just that. Essentially, the commercial is a spoof of
Godzilla films past and present. While Godzilla is trampling through the
city, his fiery breath deserts him. Despondent and embarrassed, he
wanders off but then finds a petrol station. The ending needs no
explanation. Now, while the idea is cute, the real humour of the spot
comes from the added touches throughout. In mid-panic, everyone in the
street, including Godzilla, stops to pay their respects to the Thai
flag. A small child starts to sing ’Happy Birthday’ as Godzilla’s flame
is extinguished. The ad is full of subtle and entertaining side jokes.
All in all, a lot more entertaining than the recent feature film.
Another ad which caught my eye is the latest campaign for FedEx,
developed by the Hub (BBDO) in Hong Kong, led by David Alberts. The
first in the series shows a group of FedEx couriers carrying the coffin
of a fellow worker through a cemetery. They are followed by a pack of
mourners in a typical funeral march. As the ad unfolds, the FedEx pall
bearers begin to pick up the pace, until finally they are sprinting with
the coffin towards the grave. Basically, the deceased FedEx employee,
Richard Devlin, would not want to be remembered as ’the late Richard
Devlin’. Although I’ve yet to see the second ad in this campaign, I’ve
heard about it and it sounds even funnier and fresher.
Moving back to Bangkok, but staying with the same agency, BBDO, this
time the client is Giffarine, a calcium supplement for children. In
Thailand, it seems the only thing funnier than fat people is short
people. (As you can probably tell, being politically correct isn’t a
priority.) The ads revolve around a very short man trying to go about
everyday life; riding a train and trying to reach the hand rail or
trying in vain to put his suitcase up on to a bus luggage rack. Each ad
finishes with the line: ’Short??? Or short on calcium?’ Perhaps not the
most refined strategy in the world but apparently it’s hilarious.