Viral 'I Hate Thailand' video unmasked as tourism campaign

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"I Hate Thailand."
"I Hate Thailand."

The spectacle of an ugly Western tourist kicked up global controversy on YouTube

THAILAND — A video in which relentlessly friendly Thai people win over an angry, idiotic Western tourist who claims to "hate Thailand" has achieved more than 1.5 million views and worldwide media coverage.

Client: The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Full credit goes to Coconuts Bangkok, which covered the initial uproar then found and interviewed the actor, which led to an admission by TAT.

Agency: No agency has been named. The Nation reported that the video was made by a production house called Hub Ho Hin and directed by Nithiwat Tharathorn, whose Teacher's Diary, is Thailand's submission to next year's Academy Awards.

Comments: Now that we know TAT is responsible, the only remaining mystery is who TAT was trying to reach and what it hoped to achieve. The Authority itself has said only that the unbranded video was meant to depict Thai hospitality. 

It's hard to believe that anyone watching the video—with its multiple camera angles, perfect sound, and musical cues—would believe the fiction that it was posted by a random tourist, at least not for long. (We'll charitably assume many of the people who apparently took the video at face value and posted outraged comments didn't actually watch the whole thing.)

Nor can we believe that the characters and story arc were meant to convince anyone that this was non-fiction. First of all, not to put too fine a point on it, but the guy is a total raging asshole at the start. Believing that his bag has been stolen, he swears at a friendly police officer, throws rocks at a truck that has the temerity to beep at him when he's walking in the middle of a damn road (rather than running him over as he so clearly deserves) and gives everyone major 'tude.

Then he meets a beautiful love interest (who is apparently a saint, because she does not punch him in the mouth), experiences his miraculous enlightenment, interacts adorably with a multitude of cute children, becomes a Buddhist (!) and decides to go full native.

And finally the twist ending: The monkey did it! Stole the bag, that is. No Thais were implicated in criminal activity in the making of this video. 

In other words, this is no documentary. It's so over the top that it was meant to arouse suspicion and provoke investigation. So congrats to the TAT on a magnificent bit of troll-work, which has achieved exactly what it was supposed to achieve.

This article first appeared on campaignasia.com.

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