Yesterday we visited Young and Rubicam atSiam Towers here in Bangkok. Oliver Kittipong, who heads their strategy section, hosted us. The students understand that Thai culture is different and we've talked about some differences. From an IMC perspective Oliver was very specific about the environment for advertising/public relations/marketing from a cultural perspective.
For example, the market still relies heavily on tv but not so much cable. Newspapers remain very popular and are tightly focused even though there is one main one. Cell phone penetration is over 90% but internet use remains low although growing. Thai language and humor here requires a very local touch. All of these things set the stage for any campaign and they require constant adaptation. I think we all learned quite a lot.
Today we'll visit Nai, a friend of Dr. Joe Flory's, who works in the Foreign Affairs office. I'll be curious to learn about the government take on the recent riots and its impact on the economy. One story I read claimed that the Thai economy had lost $1.5 billion in revenue. The manager of our hotel said that only 10 rooms were occupied and we have four of them. Other places, she reported, have no customers and staff are being laid off. I thought I saw more people at our place and the streets are more full than they were but things have not yet recovered to pre riot conditions.
I have heard, but can't confirm, that the king is in the hospital. Perhaps that is why he did not take a public stand on the riots.
For now, things seem normal to me although less crowded.