There is a Thai advertisement for life insurance that is going viral on the internet right now that is fairly typical of most Thai life insurance ads. It is a deeply emotional little story of a regular guy who everyday performs little acts of random kindness. While walking to work, he moves a potted tree on the sidewalk so it’s underneath a building’s rainspout. He helps a street vendor push her cart up over a steep curb, onto the sidewalk.He gives part of his lunch to a stray dog. He gives more cash than he can afford to a beggar and her little daughter so the girl can go to school. He hangs a bunch of bananas on his elderly neighbor’s front door. And at the end of his day, he returns to his humble apartment, eats a meager dinner, says his prayers, and goes to sleep.
The ads says that he will never become rich or famous for doing any of these things. And what does he get in return? At first, we see the vendor chew him out for being late to help him. We see the dog expect more and more food. We see the beggars hoping he gives more to them. He gives until it hurts. And everywhere, we see bystanders shake their heads at this overly generous fool.
Then the ads turns. He gets love back. He sees the tree grow. He witnesses the vendor lighten up. The dog becomes his true companion. The old neighbor hugs him. And one day, when he sees the beggar mother, the child is no longer there…until she shows up in a school uniform, paid for by our hero’s generosity. She made it.
The ad never once even mentions life insurance. It just extols the virtue of selfless giving and how it enriches the live of the giver and of the recipient. And it is done in such a way that by the time it’s all over, you’d swear somebody was chopping onions at your desk while you were watching the video.