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Silence of Love
August 17, 2011 5:26 AM   Subscribe

Silence of Love from Thai Life Insurance. An advertisement designed to break your heart. And it does. (Possible triggers, via The Browser)

Music - Ee Jook Il Nom Eh Sarang by Lee Soo Young - an instrumental version from the OST of A Love to Kill, and a shorter vocal version with English subs.

Directed by Thai advertising superstar Thanonchai "Tor" Sornsriwichai (gallery of links to some of his other works) of the multi award winning Phenomena production house.

Developed at Ogilvy & Mather, Bangkok by Korn Tepintarapiraksa (creative director), Rudee Surapongraktrakool (copywriter), Yuthapong Varanukrohchockem (agency producer), Vanich Jirasuwankij and Nuntaporn Laoruangroj (planners).

I've been unable to find the actors names.
posted by Ahab (65 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
oh god damn
posted by charred husk at 5:34 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus fucking Christ, Ahab.

I don't tear up at stuff. This time I did. Try as hard as we like, we can't be what we need for each other.
posted by likeso at 5:37 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


HOLY COW. Beautiful, but what a way to get people interested in your life insurance.
posted by Kitteh at 5:40 AM on August 17, 2011


(Thinking it might be a good idea to cap and bold the trigger warning.)
posted by likeso at 5:43 AM on August 17, 2011


You know, I could have sworn this was a double - but its not included in the original sad Thai commercial thread. I think somebody posted a bunch of them again a week or so ago and included this one, but it must have been deleted.

Anyhow, I still like it and I appreciate the additional info.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:45 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Found it a bit overwrought. And I knew it was an ad, but having that voice-over at the end just kinda made the whole thing feel cheap.
posted by dellsolace at 5:47 AM on August 17, 2011


Thanks for that previous, Joey Michaels. I had no idea this was an actual Thai trope.
posted by likeso at 5:48 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, I know everyone's all schmoopy right now, but I'd just like to point out how hilarious it is that the "untrustworthy young male love interest" character is portrayed exactly the same way in Thailand as he would be in America. Let's hear it for breaking down cultural barriers!
posted by phunniemee at 5:59 AM on August 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Nah, not schmoopy, but beginning to analyse the director's choices. Noticed that, too phunniemee. And,

Spoiler

Interesting that you only get a translation of the father's signing during the flashbacks toward the end. Very effective, and I'm not entirely sure why. Got some ideas.
posted by likeso at 6:05 AM on August 17, 2011


You know, I could have sworn this was a double - but its not included in the original sad Thai commercial thread. I think somebody posted a bunch of them again a week or so ago and included this one, but it must have been deleted.

My post that included this video was deleted because the content almost exactly mirrored the original thread. This one's a far, far better post. Cheers, Ahab!
posted by zarq at 6:05 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I missed your post Zarq, and it didn't show up on search. My apologies.
posted by Ahab at 6:07 AM on August 17, 2011


Absolutely no need to apologize! Mine was rightfully deleted, and you did a MUCH better job than I did, creating something here that deserves to stay on the front page.
posted by zarq at 6:11 AM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Besides, I'm gonna take advantage and post a link Dream Rangers, another Thai commercial. For a bank, of all things. :) (h/t sonascope)
posted by zarq at 6:13 AM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


1. Is there something about the Thai culture that makes heart-wrenching commercials so popular?

2. Is there something about heart-wrenching commercials that make MeFites genuine and non-snarky about their competing-format FPPs?
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:15 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


FLUID LEAK DETECTED IN MASCULINE EYE AREA. INITIATE COUGHING AND SUDDENLY BEING BUSY DOING OTHER THINGS AWAY FROM OTHER PEOPLE.
posted by Jofus at 6:17 AM on August 17, 2011 [15 favorites]


Hmmm....either really poor translation or a culture stuck in some stereotypical ideas about the Deaf.

"Deaf and dumb" / "Deaf-Mute"?. Very offensive.

Most children who grow up with Deaf parents are very fluent in the parents language; just as hearing kids are who grow up with hearing parents.
posted by what's her name at 6:32 AM on August 17, 2011


Korn Tepintarapiraksa (creative director), Rudee Surapongraktrakool (copywriter), Yuthapong Varanukrohchockem (agency producer), Vanich Jirasuwankij and Nuntaporn Laoruangroj (planners)

Should Thai credits scroll left to right?
posted by hal9k at 6:37 AM on August 17, 2011


I started to tear up, but then the blood transfusion image was so obvious and absurdly manipulative that I started to laugh instead.

What exactly does this life insurance do, anyway? Unless it's very different from ours, how is it going to save him from a medical-bill bankruptcy?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:37 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most children who grow up with Deaf parents are very fluent in the parents language; just as hearing kids are who grow up with hearing parents.

I don't think the film was implying that the daughter didn't understand her father's signing. It was a deliberate choice to have the viewer forced to interpret all communicationg , to infer the meaning - the hearing/speaking and the deaf/signing. All are equally unheard or not understood. (This is part of what I'm trying to parse re choices. Other is narrative layering, other is symbolic...)
posted by likeso at 6:38 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a heart of stone because this did not move me at all... Kind of thought the girl was a bit whiny.
posted by hanoixan at 6:43 AM on August 17, 2011


An advertisement designed to break your heart. And it does.

But does it get you to buy the insurance? Because if it doesn't, lovely as it is, it's a failure.

I ask this seriously, as there is obviously a Thai trend here, little heartfelt vignettes (there was a Chinese ad one about a Swiss watch a while back too) for commercial purps. Do they work?

How about OK Go!'s deal with State Farm? Does that work?

In short, how is premmium made!?
posted by chavenet at 6:43 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


No Zarq, definitely my lousy google site search that led to me not finding it. It's in the meta-google under "silence of love"

I hope it stays, but my apologies to anyone I'm making cry twice.

Just a couple of answers to questions here and in the previous thread -

My experience of Thai advertising is that it is more definitely overtly emotional than that in the West. Less sex, more shmoop. I think that might be just a pop culture thing - it certainly applies to pop songs as well.

Secondly, these are generally TV ads, but the internet tells me Silence of Love is also being shown in cinemas.

Thirdly, anotherpanacea, I think they also sell medical.

Also, I didn't want to editorialise straight off the bat or cramp anyone's room to weep, but if this post's time might be limited, I'll charge ahead...

What really grabbed me about this one (and at least one of the other Thai Life commercials in their youtube channel - the Que sera sera one) is that someone involved seems to be pushing hard for the inclusion of the disabled in mainstream Thai culture. Big insurance company, big agency, big name director, disabled guy (and kids) cast in strong sympathetic central roles. I recognise that there might be some cynical motives behind that, but I think there's also something quite wonderful going on. Any physical disability in Thailand (also Cambodia and Laos) traditionally resulted in a significant measure of social exclusion (not universally, but often enough). To simplify a very complicated issue, disability could be seen as the result of bad karma, and associating with someone with bad karma could in turn be seen as an action that accrued negative merit. To some extent, those beliefs/attitudes persist, and I really do think this is kicking against them. And that's great.
posted by Ahab at 6:47 AM on August 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


What exactly does this life insurance do, anyway? Unless it's very different from ours, how is it going to save him from a medical-bill bankruptcy?

Thailand enjoys universal health care.

Is this another example of a Doom Cake? Tropes-a-go-go!
posted by Trivia Newton John at 6:50 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ahab, thanks for that background.

I was also playing around with the idea of the divine fool - I think it existed in Japan at one time, do you know if it ever did in Thai culture?
posted by likeso at 6:55 AM on August 17, 2011


Unless it's very different from ours, how is it going to save him from a medical-bill bankruptcy?

This is life insurance. I think the implied message here is that with a life insurance policy, the kid will not be cast off in the streets if anything happens to the parents. i.e., losing a loved one is devastating enough without having to worry about financial whatever, and so the pressure put on the parents is "for all you do, shouldn't you be doing this as well? It's easy and important."
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:04 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is very good. Thanks, Ahab.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:04 AM on August 17, 2011


Ahab, thanks for the cultural note/editorializing - found it very enlightening!
posted by harujion at 7:23 AM on August 17, 2011


Most children who grow up with Deaf parents are very fluent in the parents language; just as hearing kids are who grow up with hearing parents.


She understands what he's saying. She's just ignoring him.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:25 AM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not sure about the divine fool, likeso. I imagine Nasruddin amongst Muslims in the south. Further North (and East) there's three big cultural traditions - ethnic Thai/Khmer/Lao stuff from a millennia ago, Therevada Buddhism, and a residual set of Hindu traditions. Some of that is about retelling the Hindu epics with a Thai flavour and is still heavily featured in temples and other places (eg the Ramayana is called the Ramakien and has a central place in a lot of temple decoration). But at a more common-folk level, the Hindu stuff is also often expressed as folk tales, animist beliefs, medicinal and magical practices, and so on. If there wasn't a divine fool somewhere in all of it, I'd be surprised.

But someone with more knowledge than me needs to weigh in on this stuff. I'm just going to get it wrong and offend people.
posted by Ahab at 7:27 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hrm. This is a little overly romantic and syrupy for me, generally. It does remind me of SE Asian action-dramas, though. You know, where the ill-fated but noble guy has to kill/fight/shoot his way to the slow-mo climax to save the dying girl.

All in a hail of blood, bullets and white feathers.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:29 AM on August 17, 2011


I imagine Nasruddin amongst Muslims in the south. Further North (and East) there's three big cultural traditions - ethnic Thai/Khmer/Lao stuff from a millennia ago, Therevada Buddhism, and a residual set of Hindu traditions.

Here's where I'm ashamed to admit I did not know there was such a sizeable Islamic population in Thailand. A whisper of Nasruddin influence might make sense, though of course the storyline in this ad is not humorous at all.

And I was only marginally aware of the Hindu population. I have evidently lazily categorized Thailand as Buddhist ever since seeing "The King And I" on TV as a child. (snicker)
Thanks again, Ahab. This post is sparking a bunch of remedial learning.
posted by likeso at 7:45 AM on August 17, 2011


what happened to papa at the end? He's in the bed next to her with maybe an IV drip?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:03 AM on August 17, 2011


i needed an antidote to this. as drippingly emotional as that thai life commercial is, it beats the hell out of this horrific story.
posted by msconduct at 8:05 AM on August 17, 2011


The final paragraph here makes a really good point. I've been away for a while and this didn't strike me immediately.

Thanks, ahab!

The father is donating blood to the daughter, Flanders.
posted by jaruwaan at 8:05 AM on August 17, 2011


Is he dead at the end? Since it's a life insurance commercial, I sort of though the implication was that he donated All of The Blood...?
posted by heyforfour at 8:08 AM on August 17, 2011


Yeah, I think he's dead at the end. Sweet mother of god.
posted by mochapickle at 8:14 AM on August 17, 2011


Oh, THIS is the other thread I kept thinking of about the overly-emotionally-manipulative Thai commercial about the deaf. And it's one of zarq's! Seriously, wtf is up with the Thai and their weepy commercials?
posted by FatherDagon at 8:14 AM on August 17, 2011


He sure does *look* dead at the end.
Thailand does have quite a few Muslims. They live in the South. There are a lot of problems, there is an insurgency and people are killing each other.
As for Hodža Nasruddin, not sure how much he is part of Thai Muslim tradition. Stories about him aren't really jokes, they are stories to teach people how to think. Of course they are funny stories. I love them.
Thanks for the Doom Cake concept! I needed it after that very sad ad.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:19 AM on August 17, 2011


Hmm...why do people let themselves get manipulated by dreck like this? Sentimentality for its own sake? Horrible.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:21 AM on August 17, 2011


She understands what he's saying. She's just ignoring him.

Yeah, that was my interpretation too. In the scene where they fight about her boyfriend, he signs something to her — and I'm pretty sure she understands it, because whatever it is, it pisses her off.

I wonder, though, if it's more complicated than that. Dad uses two different modes of communication in the ad. When he's talking to people outside the family, it's all just charades and pantomime. Look at "it's my daughter's birthday," the scene where he gets all you-asshole-it's-past-her-curfew with her boyfriend, or "please take my house." Each one of those is perfectly intelligible no matter what language you speak. But when he stops to address the camera, it's clear that he's speaking a full-fledged sign language. (Presumably TSL?) Look for instance at "I can't speak like other fathers." Without subtitles, someone who doesn't know the language couldn't possibly figure out what he's saying there.

The question is, which one is he using when he talks to his daughter? I really can't tell. For instance, "be good in school" involves a really elaborate show of reading. Does TSL just happen to have a crazy complicated iconic sign for "school"? (Is he maybe over-articulating the sign, or being extra-theatrical with it in an oh-god-my-dad-is-such-a-dork sort of way?) Or has he switched to pantomime here like he does when he's talking to people outside the family?

If he's switching to pantomime with his daughter, then maybe we're supposed to take her for a non-signer after all? That would be weird — but it would make the "I only just now realized he loves me" business a bit more plausible, and make the daughter seem less like a bigoted jerk and more like a sympathetic character in an awkward situation.

It would be awesome if there's a TSL speaker around who could weigh in. I emailed a professor of mine who speaks it, but I think she's off doing field work right now and she may not be able to respond.

Mkay, that's enough beans. Time to put the plate down.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:21 AM on August 17, 2011


"Possible triggers"

For what? Trigger, please!
posted by Eideteker at 8:21 AM on August 17, 2011


"Possible triggers"
For what? Trigger, please!
I'm guessing suicide and/or cutting. In communities where trigger warnings are standard, those are both pretty standard things to put them on.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:28 AM on August 17, 2011


Just planting some seeds.
posted by pianomover at 8:37 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


...he stops to address the camera...

I saw this as the father rehearsing what he was going to say to his daughter after presenting her with the birthday cake. Just before he felt the vibration of her body hitting the floor.

(He knew he was embarassing to her, he knew he was a problem factor for her at school and with no-good boyfriend, and he was going to apologize for that.)
posted by likeso at 8:38 AM on August 17, 2011


Ugh, this brings back every bad teenage or impatient moment I had with my father (who might be the kindest, most loving person in the world). They were all generic bad teenage moments and not related to his Deafness (although who knows if that would be the case if I had been teased about having Deaf parents). Anyway, I'm going to go video-phone him and remind him that I think he's awesome. Seriously, the guy never missed a chorus concert.
posted by amarynth at 8:42 AM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thailand does have quite a few Muslims. They live in the South. There are a lot of problems, there is an insurgency and people are killing each other.

You know what, Katjusa Roquette (and Ahab)? I did know that. I'd actually read about it here on the blue. My goodness, so painful I buried it.
posted by likeso at 8:43 AM on August 17, 2011


I don't really think doctors would take all of his blood. Unless things are way different in Thailand.
posted by troublewithwolves at 8:49 AM on August 17, 2011


> Unless things are way different in Thailand.

Gotta tip the Phii Krasue.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:54 AM on August 17, 2011


Wait, so he donated so much blood he died? Will a doctor even let you do that? I don't think they will. Right?

Also: This video is bullshit. Every kid gets impatient with their parents; every kid is unfairly uncharitable toward their parents at times. Her frustration was totally understandable, if not totally fair. It's part of being a kid and not having a fully developed empathy spleen or whatever.

Plus now she's going to grow up thinking she's a terrible person, a worthless ingrate who ultimately caused the death of her own dad, who loved her unconditionally even though she never seemed to love him back. AND SHE WILL BE COMPLETELY CORRECT IN THAT ASSESSMENT. The life insurance payout might conceivably cover the cost of decades of therapy, I guess?

Double Also: This is the kind of absurd contrived sentimentalism that drove me so nuts about a bunch of Japanese cinema. Like when my third-year students all had to make class movies, and half of them had a pointless surprise character death 2/3 of the way through the film, because that's just what you do in a movie.

God, I feel like an unsentimental asshole, which I am totally not. I am the dude that cries at commercials! I am that dude. But not this time, apparently.
posted by pts at 9:14 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Deaf-mute fathers and the daughters who hate them, next on Maury ...
posted by Bookhouse at 9:16 AM on August 17, 2011


My post that included this video was deleted because the content almost exactly mirrored the original thread.

Here's the deleted post (August 1, 2011): Blue Thai.
posted by ericb at 10:36 AM on August 17, 2011


FWIW, I didn't think he'd died at all.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:40 AM on August 17, 2011


Thailand enjoys universal health care.

Then why does he offer the doctor his house?
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:58 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh, yeah, I'm with shakespeherian on this one: nothing about this said that the dad was dead to me. I saw a guy who gave a blood transfusion, got his arm bandaged up, and fell asleep. I mean, dude appears to be clearly breathing in that last shot; if he was supposed to be dead, he could have easily held his breath for the requisite two seconds. Also, that would have to be a pretty seriously fucked up hospital to park a dead body next to a suicidal girl.

Then why does he offer the doctor his house?

Because people in extreme distress say irrational things?
posted by phunniemee at 11:08 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Then why does he offer the doctor his house?

Because it's cheesy melodramatic fluff? I'm surprised people are seriously picking apart the storyline here.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:32 AM on August 17, 2011


I'm a cold-hearted bitch. Thanks for the laughs.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:02 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised people are seriously picking apart the storyline here.

I'm trying to understand how the product is being sold: what problem the ad raises that the product solves. Running it through the filter of my own experience leaves too many holes that can only filled by understanding Thai culture and political-economy. I get why it's sad, but I don't get why it helps sell policies.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:24 PM on August 17, 2011


I'm trying to understand how the product is being sold: what problem the ad raises that the product solves.

OK, how is this product being sold? What problem do these gentlemen raise that Budweiser solves?

Sometimes, companies make ads that have very little to do with the product being sold and everything to do with being 1) something that people pay attention to and 2) memorable. And then they slap the company logo on the end of it because everyone's watching and hey, we're trying to sell stuff here.
posted by phunniemee at 12:37 PM on August 17, 2011


Well, the question some of us are interested in is, how does this ad play into cultural perceptions of deafness? And that depends on how you interpret the details.

I mean, if the intended story is "Deaf dad can't communicate properly with his daughter [hurf durf signing doesn't really count] but he can demonstrate his love by saving her life," that suggests one thing. If it's "Daugher is stupidly ashamed of her deaf dad until he saves her life and she realizes what an idiot she was," that's something else. The daughter's voiceover sort of suggests #1 (all the "I wish he could listen to how I feel" stuff) but some of the other details suggest #2.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:52 PM on August 17, 2011


I cried the first time I watched it (not going to watch it again, thank you very much), so I'm glad to see this video get another chance on the Blue.

Aside from toying with my emotions, I enjoyed watching that and the Pantene commercial for a look at Thai sign language. I know a bit of ASL, and it's always fascinating for me to watch other SLs being signed - the part of my brain that 'listens' for the signs wakes up, and then gets really confused. It's even worse when the language in question is kind of similar, but not the same, as ASL (a lot of world sign languages are related to ASL or old French Sign Language, from which ASL derives).
posted by Gordafarin at 2:47 PM on August 17, 2011


Relationship marketing genius! This stuff pulls at empathic, nurturing, security, mortality and other strings. It's powerful, moving, and scary at the same time. The goal is to have the target (the consumer) assume a connection with the advertiser. Wouldn't you really rather give your money to a company that identified with these essential qualities? One thing I'd like to know is whether the Thai companies who put this stuff out there are any different - in reality - than the whoring thieves that American financial and insurance institutions are. Anyone?
posted by Vibrissae at 3:43 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


They have universal health care in a few places, Croatia is the only place I actually witnessed it in operation. It is not unusual to give the doctor a bribe, because while doctors make a decent living, it is not like what doctors make in the States.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:33 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aside from toying with my emotions, I enjoyed watching that and the Pantene commercial for a look at Thai sign language.

Many people hated that commercial when I posted it to MeFi. :)
posted by zarq at 7:01 PM on August 17, 2011


Could not decide whether I could watch or not. "Possible triggers" without being more specific is the equivalent of "May contain allergens" on a candy wrapper.
posted by tigrrrlily at 9:27 PM on August 17, 2011


zarq: "Aside from toying with my emotions, I enjoyed watching that and the Pantene commercial for a look at Thai sign language.

Many people hated that commercial when I posted it to MeFi. :)
"

Yeah, I'm pretty neutral on it, but I like the signing. :)
posted by Gordafarin at 4:16 AM on August 18, 2011


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