July 07, 2002
The Advertising Association of Thailand expects Advertising Spending in Thailand to grow "at a stable rate" of 8 to 10% per year. The difference between the heady days of the Thailand bubble economy and now? ...over 15%. While ad spending growth has remained at around 8 to 10% since 1999, pre-Asian crisis of 1997 growth was around 25% annually.
According to Advertising Association of Thailand president Parames Rachjaibun, most of the growth in the first half of 2002 was from mobile phone companies. Not surprising given the big stakes competition in Thailand now with glamour new entrant Orange marketing aggressively.
The government tourism board - Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was a big spender amongst the government/state enterprise sector which as a whole increased ad spend 46% of January to May 2002 year on year.
The Thai advertising industry has always been one of the more vibrant and creative in South East Asia and perhaps even Asia as a whole, freed from some of more strict regulations that apply in Singapore and Malaysia. Thai advertising regulations do add a few unique hurdles of their own, but the generally more tolerant nature of Thai society and the massive foreign investment of the 1980s and 1990s which introduced many new products and services nurtured a vibrant scene.
Things are now a bit less free-wheeling, and the industry is having to cope with new economic realities and budgetary constraints. 25% annual growth rates of course should not be realistically viewed as standard or the norm, as that was an accident of history. But the spirit of creativity and standards of creative direction that characterises the Thailand scene lives on. Profits and salaries in the industry are way down compared to 5 years ago, but having to struggle to survive is perhaps the greatest exercise in creativity.
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