The Advertising Industry in Thailand

Written by Patrick Harney
| 15 MIN READ |

Key Content

  • Introduction
  • Portrayed Beauty
  • Top Trends in Thai Advertising Industry
  • Consumption Patterns
  • Growth of Digital Advertising
  • Entertainment Values
  • Cultural Impact
  • Saddest and Emotional Thai Ads
  • Funniest Thai Ads
  • Conclusion


The advertising industry in Thailand has grown rapidly into a full-scale cinematic genre. With developed storylines, thematic styles, and deep messages to downright hilarious advertisements. The advertising industry in Thailand has made Bangkok an international commercial and video production hub. It gives some production houses a creative space to use humor, tragedy, and emotional commercials to attract attention to a product. The digital marketing era has revolutionized advertising from production houses simply trying to produce TVCs selling a product, to entertaining mass media content that goes viral online and globally. This effective strategy leads to more companies advertising their brands using online platforms. Below we have listed some of Thailand’s most interesting agents and structures in an increasingly digital world of advertising.

Portrayed Beauty

In modern-day society, the “Ideal images” of celebrities that men and women encounter is ingrained in everyday life. This big break from traditional conceptions of beauty related to social classes can be traced to the unstoppable rise of advertising. This leads consumers to have a biased conception of beauty. As appearance is artificially deemed to be a key factor of success in life, it is a growing desire to look more attractive. Media and advertising agencies have, since the dawn of capitalism, put pressure on not only consumers. In Thailand and globally, influencers are increasingly setting beauty standards. This comes through with the increasing importance of social media, digital advertising and marketing.

Many in Thailand believe that the epitome of beauty is to have a certain figure, have a white skin tone or to use/wear a certain popular brand. Nevertheless, there is a gamut of beauty standards that appeal to Thai consumers. For the most part, beauty standards have developed together and independently between cultures. Influences from outside along with local developments create a certain image of what beauty is. And for Thailand, this certain appearance might seem different and unique to other regions.

Consumption Patterns

The internet has left a clear mark on society, noticeably so in Thailand as it’s advent came right as Thailand saw great economic activity. But the internet is also a key driver of the digital advertising industry. This digital revolution in advertising plus the modernization of Thailand has led to a drastic change in local consumption patterns. Thai people are now, for the first time ever, able to consume a lot of goods. This means that they are actually able to mimic other countries and ads. As such, this part will be dedicated to an analysis of key factors in Thai consumption patterns. From government policy to cultural hegemons and economic growth to advertising styles, we will attempt to form a comprehensive overview of how current consumption patterns are and why they are. Eventually, we will give you our two cents on where it will go from there.

Thailand consumers indicators and digital advertising

Growth of Digital Advertising

It is averaged that Thais spend 6 hours on mobile devices out of 9 hours spent online. Because of this statistic advertisers believe that AI and chatbot technologies will leave a huge impact on online marketing. Data-driven marketing is a must for advertising agencies and brand video production, as it can create an effective marketing approach to understand consumers. This shift into a digital ecosystem creates new opportunities on brand awareness and consumer engagements. The growth of digital advertising is forecasted to increase the number of consumer operations such as more subscriptions for music, movies and gaming services if it appeals enough to the market.

Entertainment Values

For many advertising agencies and film production houses, it is important to keep up with trends in order to stay relevant in the consumer market. These trends maybe show us the entertainment values in Thailand. Entertainment and advertising go hand in hand, especially in Thailand. The more entertaining the ad the greater the effect. Consumers will more readily absorb and accept advertising if they are actually entertained. And in Thailand, the entertainment values might differ from those of other cultures. We will look at what is seen as entertaining in Thailand, especially with the rise of digital advertising.

Cultural Impact

Like the rest of the world, Thai consumers are increasingly looking for personalized media interactions. Production houses that work with advertising agencies should especially produce quality and interesting content to appropriately capture the consumer’s attention. Especially the consumer who avoid ads altogether. Top trends from self-care to gaming are especially popular in Thailand which already covers a majority of the consumer population. Since the rise of mobile devices, the advertising industry has been more about data collecting strategies to execute content creation that can meet business goals. 

With Thai consumers and businesses alike spending more on digital media, over the top on-demand viral video content seems to be the fastest-growing trend. As live streaming is starting to dominate the digital world, it is not actually seen as a threat to offline entertainment shows in Thailand. Rather this is a new feature businesses uses to attract viewers and expand their marketing plan from traditional offline platforms to transition online.

Saddest and Emotional Thai Ads

In Thailand, emotional storylines are used in commercials to sell everyday products, this has created a niche genre of TVCs and coined the term “sad-vertising”. Advertising agencies have seen that emotion can trigger audiences and consumers to eat it up. For many brands evoking these types of emotions in their commercials is a way to impact audiences for the brand to establish long term recognition with consumers. Yet this form of advertising has started to transcend the borders of Thailand with the internet. Thai advertisements have quickly received international recognition: for either being incredibly sad, or funny.

With big brands using “sad-vertising” to capture consumers’ attention, a box of tissues is necessary. Accumulating millions of views on youtube, Thailand would take 1st place on having the most tear-jerking content in the world. These types of commercials use uplifting content about homelessness, poverty, and death, which makes them so impactful. Though mostly sad and long, this is what makes these commercial shareable meaning people are watching and buying what advertising agencies are trying to sell them.

Funniest Thai Ads

Similar to “sad-vertising”, the same can be said for Thai advertising filled with hilarity. Thai advertising specializes in keeping the audience constantly guessing as to what the product is actually being advertised. Advertisements like these range from bizarre storylines from bug spray products to simple ice cream flavors making them so over the top and filled with silly humor it’s hard not to forget about them. Not only do advertising agencies use humor to get their product more awareness but to also combat social norms in Thai society. For the Thai consumer, humor is more useful to successfully engage the attention of consumers and that’s why a lot of Ads are so funny!


The country of Thailand is an exporter of creative power with a unique reputation in the world. It’s cultural uniqueness also play an important role in exporting its reputation. This is no doubt why film production, commercials, and music videos are so attracted to the prospect of being shot in Thailand. As a whole, Thailand is more receptive to emotion than anything else in advertising. With every intense emotion being evoked, this emotional rollercoaster with Thai advertising inspires positive feelings and hits the hearts of the Thai people to stop and think. With artificial intelligence around the corner advertising agencies need to use quality film production to persuade consumers to purchase and focus on the relationships they can have with consumers, better understanding markets and how they can make people particularly feel about a product or idea.

Thumbnail photo by Sophia M. Sunder
Consumption and Retail sales data from Trading Economics
Digital Advertising infographic from twfdigital

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