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Thai invasion hits the Asian Pop Culture scene

by Ashima

Meet the Thai celebrities giving K-Pop idols a good run for their money.

Thai actors like Mario Maurer, Nonkul Chanon and Gulf Kanawut have amassed millions of followers on an international scale via social media. All three have gained a solid fan base not only in Thailand but also in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and even South Korea.

Thanks to advances in technology such as ultra-fast internet speeds typified by 5G-enabled smartphones and tablets, streaming and connectivity have made the world smaller and a lot of global content more accessible. Thai drama series and films are now making a strong impact overseas, creating its own massive cult following that rival those of K-Pop music and K-drama fans.

In the Philippines, a country known for embracing international pop culture like no other, the
popularity of Thai celebrities has skyrocketed to unprecedented heights.

Mario Maurer is a prime example.

In 2011, Mario was launched by international celebrity agency, PUBLICITYASIA, to a regionwide audience. The agency continues to represent him for commercial contracts abroad and is now working on a deal to bring the 32-year old actor closer to Hollywood. “Mario’s popularity in the Asian region is unprecedented,” says Joyce A. Ramirez, the actor’s long-time project collaborator and PR representative. “He’s like fine wine that gets better and better. In fact, he never seems to age.”

Following in Mario’s footsteps is Chanon “Nonkul” Santinatornkul. The 24-year-old young actor is best known for his breakout role in Bad Genius (2017). The teen heist thriller is considered as the most internationally successful Thai film ever grossing more than USD 42 million at the worldwide box office.

Even before he became an actor, 23-year old Gulf Kanawut was already a sought-after model in Bangkok who has appeared in several magazine covers. But it was Gulf’s role in TharnType The Series, an adaptation of a popular Thai web novel, which turned him into an international fan favourite.

All three Thai actors were recently launched by TNT, a prepaid mobile brand under the Philippines’ largest telco company, Smart Communications.

“TNT’s move comes as more Filipinos have turned into big fans of Thai series and films, giving in to the so-called Thai Invasion, a term used to describe the phenomenon of Thailand’s growing prominence in the international pop culture scene,” says Jane Jimenez Basas, SVP and Head of Consumer Wireless Business at Smart Communications.

As part of the campaign, Mario, Nonkul and Gulf headlined a virtual fan meet in the Philippines. Dubbed as “TNTCON2021,” the event immediately became the no. 1 worldwide trending topic on social media and also trended no. 1 in Thailand.

Content courtesy of Affluent Creation PR.

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