Returning to the subject of Thai culture, there is an interesting series of print advertisements running in the BTS Skytrain stations. These are for Woys Crackers, a cheese-flavored cracker sandwiched with a butter-like spread. The ads have some clever wordplay, which is a common feature of the Thai language.
These are the cracker’s normal packaging. It shows a group or friends or siblings laughing. The script reads “Woys: with creamy butter” and “creamy butter” is actually a phonetic translation of the English words. If you want to sound Thai, accent the second syllable of both words: “Cree-MEE But-TUH”.
As their spokesman, the manufacturer has hired the biggest movie and TV star in Thailand, a comedian named Petchtai Wongkamlao (pictured below) who goes by the stage name Mum Jokmok. His nickname, “Mum” (หม่ำ) is a funny word for “eat”, kind of describing how a child might eat food.
Mum Jokmok is the hardest working man in Thai showbiz right now, producing an endless stream of films. He has a very expressive face and a gift for physical comedy. Playing off the meaning of his name, the ad reads “Mum Woys” – both his name and the name of the crackers, as well as “Eat Woys”.
The series of billboards continues in a spoof of the original packaging, in which he plays, with the help of some clever photoshopping, all three of the characters in the photo.
That must answer the question – they are siblings rather than just friends, right? But how does the mother look?
That question is answered in another billboard, where we see that the mother is another actor and Mum is the father as well as the children. The tag line: “Eat Woys together with the family.”
Thai advertising is generally clever (although prone to a bit of base humor) and this is a good example of it.