Making the viewer feel good is a time-tested method of crafting an effective commercial. Gather a bunch of attractive people, have them frolic in beautiful surroundings for 30 seconds, and at the end subtly slip in the product, implying “You too could be having this much fun with this brand of car/beer/athlete’s foot medication!”
Thai advertisers, though, sometimes decide to take a different tack, with emotionally devastating commercials that seem designed to reduce all who watch them to blubbering piles of streaming tears and seeping sympathy. Case in point: this new ad with man’s inhumanity to man as its central theme features dialogue such as “What the f*** are you smiling at?”, terrible violence, and a completely unexpected final purpose.
As the ad opens, we’re introduced to its two unnamed central characters, who we’ll call Newsstand Owner and Homeless Guy. As you may have guessed, Homeless Guy doesn’t have a place of his own, so he spends every night sleeping on the sidewalk in front of Newsstand Owner’s place of business.
Newsstand Owner is none too pleased about this, and wakes Homeless Guy up by dousing him with a pail of cold water before sending him off for the day with such cheery sentiments as:
Through most of it, Homeless Guy keeps a good-natured smile on his face, and early on the music seems to imply that this is more an Odd Couple-esque comedy than a real look into the hardships of homelessness. Things take a turn for the serious, though, when Newsstand Owner opens up his shutter one day and is greeted by the unmistakable smell of urine. Furious, he delivers a swift kicks to the slumbering Homeless Guy, who dashes off to escape the shopkeeper’s wrath.
And then things get really dark.
Opening up for business the next day, for the first time in the video Newsstand Owner doesn’t find Homeless Guy stretched out in front of his shop.
When the sprawled squatter’s absence stretches to three consecutive days, the concerned Newsstand Owner decides to check the footage from his security camera, which is pointed at the sidewalk in front of his store through the night, and for the first time sees what Homeless Guy has really been up to every night. Rather than just loafing until sunrise, he was picking up trash in front of Newsstand Owner’s business, and the video not only exonerates him of guilt in the urination incident, but shows that he chased off the actual pisser, as well as one would-be graffiti vandal.
But it’s not just petty crimes Homeless Guy has been protecting Newsstand Owner from. Later footage shows two burglars attempting to break into the store, and when Homeless Guy confronts them, he first takes a beating…
…and then a knife to the gut.
As Newsstand Owner breaks down and cries for his fallen acquaintance, more cynical viewers may be wondering why, three days after the murder, the police haven’t bothered to tell Newsstand Owner that they picked a corpse up off the pavement in front of his store. More compassionate individuals, though, will probably be saying “Yes, yes, we must improve our treatment of the homeless and other poverty-stricken segments of society,” especially when the commercial’s tagline finally shows up, which reads:
“There’s much more truth that you are blind too…”
Okay, so next comes the part where the ad tells us which charities and homeless shelters we should donate too, right?
Nope! What the commercial really wants you to do is purchase a Vizer-brand security camera.
After all, without one, how are you supposed to witness all of the heart-breaking violent crime that happens when you’re not around? Still, we hope Newsstand Owner turned the video over to the police to aid in tracking down Homeless Guy’s killers, and that this serves as a lesson for the shopkeeper to not only show a little more compassion to others, but also to check his security footage more often than once every three days.