Stand down cynics! Thai commercial for True Move reminds us “giving is the best communication.”

September 19, 2013

In my second novel, The Happy Soul Industry God hires an ad agency to market “goodness in all its forms.” Alas, advertising is the devil’s playground and all hell breaks loose. I’m not writing this piece to sell my book, though I’d be honored if you read it. The paperback is on Amazon. However, I couldn’t help but think about my story when I discovered the above commercial on You Tube. It’s from Thailand. And it has well over 7 million views. Not bad for a film ostensibly about goodness. Not bad at all.

Make no mistake. This is an ad. For what exactly I had to use Google. Apparently, True Move is a mobile phone network. This is far from obvious. There is only one bit of copy. A super: Giving is the best communication. The story, which I urge you to watch, is about a man who gave selflessly and is rewarded for it at the end of his life. It’s a simple piece of melodrama, executed flawlessly.

In many respects the commercial reminds me of all those famous Hallmark commercials my old agency, Leo Burnett produced in the 80’s and 90’s. They were sappy, expensive to produce and some of the finest commercials ever made. In their longest form (120 seconds), they may have run only once, in tandem with another, usually during a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation. Later in the campaign, I believe they also ran during marquee television events, like the Academy Awards. I don’t remember all the details but you get the idea. These were special commercials and they got special treatment. Deservedly so. Here’s a couple of them.

And so we see the genre again, emulated. Haters gotta hate (always have, always will) and I didn’t have to scroll far down You Tube to find this ditty:

“I’m so overcome with emotion, I have an urge to spend everything I have on whatever is being advertised here. Is it soup? I’m sure whatever company it is, they are brimming with the kindness and virtue they are so eager to promote.”

Yes, he has a point: if you can’t tell what is being advertised is it even a commercial, let alone a good one? With Hallmark you knew. Still, one cannot help but admire this film’s heart. It’s bursting. And yes, it is almost impossible to believe a story like this could ever happen. But we believe, I think –I hope, because we want to.

Back in the day, I recall making fun of my precious Burnett colleagues’ precious Hallmark films but deep down, below all the firewalls of youth, I adored them. And while I never got to write one of these lovely films (no surprise given my attitude), I’m grateful to see someone else has… and always will.

I’m not the only one beating this drum. Adfreak


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