Most television commercials merely interrupt the regularly scheduled programming. When I do watch television, it’s the programming I want to see, not the incessant enticements to part with my money. Usually they bore me or offend me with appeals to sinful desires.

But every once in a while I find a commercial that actually moves me, that edifies me, and maybe even contributes to my life. Then those 30 seconds seem like an investment with big return. The “Unsung Hero” commercials of Thai Life are the latest surprise for me. They’re actually three minutes that are so well done they don’t feel any longer than the typical 30 second slots. Simple. Poignant. Real. Sweaty with life. Hopeful. Surprising.

Take a look:

I love the line, “He witnesses happiness.” Oh, may it be so!

Here’s another one:

This one rocked me:

I was touched by the devotion in this one:

Then I had to go to bed after this one!

You can find a good number of these commercials if you search youtube for “thai insurance commercials.” Usually I hate commercials, but I love these. In an age of entertainment and advertising characterized by either titillation or banality, there are few things that really move us. These 3-minute commercials show that it can be done, on low budgets, with a little honesty about what matters in life.

Of course, there are lessons here for preaching, too. Less very often is more. While the preached work can’t paint a picture the same way video can, we preachers can work to paint more vivid stories and images for our people, who deal with these same kinds of situations. Best of all, we get to paint the Lord Jesus into the picture. Then we’re not just moving; we’re also redemptive.

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3 thoughts on “Usually I Hate TV Commercials”

  1. Matthew Monroe says:

    I wish American companies had the guts to put commercials out like this. The Pièce de résistance has to be this one though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPtOm9UXfnU

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Yes, that’s an excellent one also! The only reason I didn’t post it was because it’s about twice as long as the others. I love when the teenage mother says she’d rather people talk crudely about her than the little girl. Such a wonderful example of substitutionary sacrifice and selflessness.

      T-

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Thabiti Anyabwile


Thabiti Anyabwile is assistant pastor for church planting at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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