Tears of Sentiments


Something about ninjas cutting onions on people’s room meme is circulating all over the internet because of the Thai commercial titled, “Unsung Hero”.

For some reason, it has already become a time-honored tradition here in Asia, particularly in East and Southeast Asia, to create advertisements that actually feels so sad and tear-inducing it almost feels like a competition between business companies as to who can make more people cry all the while advertising their product actually.

The advertisement was created by Thai Life Insurance Public Company Limited or simply Thai Life Insurance along with the hiring of the ninjas to cut onions while watching it. The insurance company is the first Thai insurance company. The company was founded in 1942 and its headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand. It was one of largest insurance companies in Thailand.

Nowadays it is a financial services group in Thailand with the slogan Thai Life Insurance. Life, Beside You.

The company is known for commissioning a number of emotional television commercials that have garnered global attention. Which includes the “Unsung Hero” commercial.

The Thai Life ad, titled “Unsung Hero,” shows one virtuous young man as he performs random acts of kindness on a regular basis. He gives up his bus seat to a woman who is standing, brings bananas to an elderly neighbor, and donates money to a young girl on the street raising funds to pay for an education.

Along the way, other people shake their heads in disbelief, unable to understand the benefit our protagonist gets from giving to strangers all the time.

There is really something about heart strings being pulled that is quite sellable to the market here in East and Southeast Asia.

Companies like Thai Life are drawn to these tearjerkers because those are the kinds of ads people in South-East Asia are most likely to share on social media. A very creative marketing technique that invests heavily on the emotion of the target audience to make their products sellable to them.

True enough people like the Filipinos in the Philippines who firstly has access to the internet and is jaw-droppingly active on social media plus their cultural penchant for being emotional and caring people will most likely be some of the actually unintended audience who will strongly share such content all across their networks of friends. Of course, intentionally the ad was created for Thailand as the ad was made by an insurance company based there, and they are also known for their culture to be very sentimental people who feel it that sharing such ad is actually promoting something good in value.

Although unintended audience, which are people other than the Thai’s are unable to avail of the advertised service or product, was actually more vocal about their reactions towards the ad than the intended or target audience of the ad which is the Thai’s that are able to avail of the insurance the company offers. People were expressing their sadness all over the internet which signifies that the ad was effective in its purpose to create a stigma or a kind of like priming, linking the idea of values or good moral principle into their own product through this advertisement. Couple it up with a lot more of these advertisements made following the success of the first ad and you got yourself an idea cultivated over the years by the creation of media content similar in the message that they tell to the audience.

The general purpose of the ad serves to undermine the sentimental tendencies of the Thai people by priming them into thinking of their services as something that is also the same as having such good values and principles in life. They then proceed to cultivate said message for many years with different and new ads with the same message content, all for the sake of the profit.

The content of the ad represents primarily the ideal life of someone who aspires to be very virtuous and altruistic in nature. Since we have a cultural stigma of humans always in the mode of “Survival of the Fittest”, it is in the bewilderment and amazement of the general as to why some people chose to be like the Unsung Hero and why would they want to do that. What I really do think in my own words is that the ad has omitted or has failed to recognize, or just maybe deliberately framed to evade the idea that such acts of altruism and virtuosity fail so badly in reality. The very few isolated case of acts of charity and selflessness from a few people may be very inspiring, but at the bottom of reality, there is hardly any who are actually capable of such acts, more rather that they would put themselves first before even considering helping others.

Nevertheless, it is still actually very exemplary to be capable of such acts. For a person to be capable of casting his/her own needs aside for the sake of others and be able to help them despite their own circumstances is one of the noblest and commendable human acts that we could ever care to witness. It is then affable to pursue such capability, for such is the message the ad tells us regardless of the idea or agenda they try to push, notwithstanding the hard-to-grasp idea of human altruism in a very narcissistic world.

As the old adage goes “For what good is it if a man gains the whole world but loses himself in the process?

– Gray, Amy (17 April 2014). “Five Ads That Prove Thai Life Insurance Commercials Are The Saddest Commercials Ever”. Junkee. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
– Taube, Aaron (10 April 2014). “All Of Thailand Is Compulsively Weeping Over This One Life Insurance Ad”
– “Thai Life Insurance ‘Silence Of Love’ Commercial Creates Internet Sensation”. HuffPost. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2017.

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