A content analysis of daily newspaper advertisements in Thailand before and after the 1997 economic crisis
The rapid developments of technological media and communication have caused many corporations in the Western world to recognize the potential for extending their empires and increasing their revenues by doing business in other countries. The year 1997 was significant in most Asian countries as they were facing weak currencies and depressed economies. This opened the way for the United States and European corporations to play a more important role in advertising in Asian countries. Thailand was one of these countries where these transnational corporations (TNCs) aimed to virtually control advertising, buying up or driving out local competitors. These corporations invested large sums of money in advertising hoping to sell their products while defeating competitors. This study attempted to explore the impact of advertising of transnational corporations (TNCs) on the Thai society, economy, culture, and values to determine whether or not the 1997 economic crisis might have been the turning point in altering the Thai people's lifestyles and consumption habits. Three Thai newspapers, Thairath, Matichon , and Poochadkam Raiwan (1995-1996 and 2000-2001), were examined by means of content analysis. This study developed five hypotheses by focusing on country nationality of products, size of advertisements, product types, color, and language use. Three out of the five hypotheses resulted in statistically significant findings. Foreign advertisements were the most frequently advertised products in Thai newspapers before and after the economic crisis. There was no important change in statistics for the size of advertised products. The findings also showed that luxury product advertisements appeared more often than other product types before and after the economic crisis. In addition, it was found that the use of color and language in product advertisements differed substantially. In summary, there was a slightly positive impact of TNCs and their advertising on the Thai society. Although the picture was not entirely dear, the findings provided enough evidence to show that the future of the Thai society, economy, culture, and values would not be the same. These critical changes would occur slowly and consecutively, which the Thai people would finally embrace.