I Hate Thailand vs. My Brother


November 27, 2014 by Melissa Ray

Earlier this month, two Thailand-related short films were released, which were widely shared on social media sites and turned out to be covert and subtle marketing campaigns, respectively.

The first was entitled “I hate Thailand”—initially disguised as a YouTube upload by someone named Mila Pattama, but later revealed as a Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)-funded initiative.

The story centres round a British tourist named James, who has his passport and valuables stolen while on holiday in Thailand. However, a pretty Thai girl and various locals come to his aid, providing him with food and shelter, scouring the beach for his lost property, and welcoming him—open-armed—into the community.

James settles into his new life and—by the end of the clip—has spent 2 years in Thailand, describing having almost forgotten about his missing valuables, which were finally retrieved—intact—and the thief identified as…..a monkey.

Responses to the video have been mixed. Some viewers enjoyed the clip, believing it portrays the kindness and hospitality of Thai people; others were critical of its cheesy and unrealistic plot and ending.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions on the piece, which has had more than 1.5 million views since its launch and been hailed by the TAT as a “big success”. Only time will tell whether the campaign has its desired effect by drawing tourists back to the country in droves.

The second short film released this month was a piece entitled “My brother”—revealed in its closing seconds to be a long advertisement for the electronics company Brother.

The story focuses on the relationship and enduring love of a brother and sister, who were orphaned during childhood, leaving the boy responsible for caring and providing for his younger sibling.

Without revealing the entire plot, the boy begins competing in Muay Thai fights to earn income to support his younger sister. Years down the line, those bouts have consequences on his health, and their sibling roles are reversed when the sister must act as carer.

Judging from comments on Facebook, responses to the film have been overwhelmingly positive, particularly within the Muay Thai community. Generally, I’m not the type of person to get emotional at films, but I was so moved by the story I was sobbing from around 4 minutes in until after the film’s conclusion.

Though the film works extremely well as a dramatic piece, I wonder if it will be deemed as successful commercially. In terms of YouTube views, its success is vastly inferior to that of the “I hate Thailand” campaign, having notched up less than 240,000 views within a similar timeframe.

Time will tell whether the campaign has success in increasing sales of Brother products; however, the advertisement can certainly be enjoyed (if that’s the right word) as a supreme tearjerker.


5 thoughts on “I Hate Thailand vs. My Brother

  1. Anonymous says:

    My Brother has been posted on popular Thai forums, so hits should increase . BTW Kaew Fairtex’s mother once told me that Kaew told her that he would bear all family’s expenses, and his sister should not have to fight. Kaew didn’t want his sister to get hurt, and that she should have a better career. Kaew’s sister is now married and has a child. Kaew remains single.

    • Melissa Ray says:

      Wow, thank you for sharing that story. I didn’t know Kaew Fairtex has a sister who used to fight too. I hope “My brother” will get a lot more views – it deserves much more recognition.

  2. Nicki says:

    Wow that My Brother commercial was INTENSE! I loved it. I ALMOST shed a tear. While I don’t think it would make me purchase Brother products doesn’t detract from how good that video clip was.

    Whereas I’m NOT a lover of the I Hate Thailand clip at all. It was so cheesy, I didn’t like the way the farang was rude with the Police officer telling him to “fucking hurry up” (get over yourself, probably if you hadn’t been partying at the full moon party you wouldnt have lost track of your bag to begin with) and the whole cliche of the White farang getting the Beautiful Thai girl combined with what almost seemed to be an invitation to stay beyond your Visa allowance is why I didn’t like it.

    But the My Brother, that was some REAL shit.

    • Melissa Ray says:

      Yes the suggestion of 2 years in Thailand with no passport/visa was particularly ridiculous considering the recent crackdowns on overstayers, misuse of ED visas etc!

      Almost shed a tear at My Brother?! I can count on one hand the number of films I’ve actually cried at but that one really got to me. Intense, as you say – great film-making.

      Thanks for your comment!

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