The Tourism Authority of Thailand has launched an "unbranded" viral marketing campaign.
The TAT expects to attract a lot of attention from international markets through this new tactic via a video clip titled “I Hate Thailand”. This approach involves posting videos online that appear to be done independently, and not by a “brand” or organisation.
The 5.2-minute video clip first appeared in social media on Thursday. It tells about a foreign tourist named James who planned to stay one week in Thailand, but his bag was stolen (by a monkey) and he later gets help from locals for food and accommodation. The tourist eventually falls in love with the Kingdom and stays here for two years.
Sugree Sithivanich, deputy governor for marketing communications of TAT, said the campaign had already been seen by a lot of tourists and social-media users in Thailand and overseas.
He added the TAT chose the unbranded strategy as it wanted audiences to follow the video and spread it to friends.
“It is part of the ‘Discover Thainess’ national tourism campaign, which is set to promote Thai people and their kindness as well as culture, which cannot be seen in other countries,” he said.
Sugree said tourists could travel to any place in the world, but they would feel some differences when coming to Thailand.
Coconuts Bangkok has explained that the “I Hate Thailand” production was funded by the TAT.
In the clip, it says, Oliver Smith appears as “James” in the video’s sugary tale of boy-loses-bag, boy-gets-girl, which has been met with equal parts love and hate. It was scripted by production company Hub Ho Hin.
“I believe the purpose of making it was to portray Thailand in a good light,” Smith said on the Coconuts website.
“This is another angle on Thailand, an upbeat angle that shows the friendly, accommodating Thailand that a lot of expats and travellers alike can relate to.”
Coconuts reported: “Thailand’s image has been battered by an unrelenting storm of real-life incidents and crises. So the video seems a government attempt to counter reality with fiction. “Although the video was heavily staged, Smith said he can’t deny he has experiences similar to those in the video.”
Earlier, another video clip was launched through social media with a similar theme. It was called “Never Go to Thailand”. It posted by an individual and also attracted a lot of people.
It shows that foreign tourists finally loved Thailand after travelling here, and so they warned other people: “Never go to Thailand – if you go there you will love it.”