Yesterday Chivas Regal unveiled its new brand ambassador: Lalisa Manobal, better known as Lisa Blackpink. The whisky brand’s one-minute-long video features her success story, and its whole message is meant to inspire people to embark on the very same journey.
“But success means nothing, not one thing, unless we share it,” remarks Lisa near the end of the video. And her message, ironically, holds true for the alcohol laws in Thailand.
Recently in Thailand, one craft beer fan faced a B100,000 fine for crossing the Kingdom’s draconian alcohol prohibitions online, and another, blogger Prapavee “Bamee” Hemmatat, received a notice she had violated the law just for posting a photo of a beer bottle on her page. Regular people, restaurants, and brewers face capricious charges for almost anything, thanks to Section 32 of the Alcohol Beverage Control Act, stating, “No person shall advertise or display, directly or indirectly, the name or trademark of any alcoholic beverage in a manner showing the properties thereof or inducing another person to drink.”
So, will Thai citizen Lisa Blackpink—enlarged on billboards and plastered all over the internet—face the same charges for advertising alcohol like her fellow Thais? Probably not.
Rest easy, Blink. Section 32 states that “the provisions of paragraph one and paragraph two shall not apply to any advertisement broadcast from outside of the Kingdom.” So, the spirit of the law remains intact, as long as no one in Thailand has access to the internet.
Thailand’s monopolistic alcoholic beverage brands have been using this legal loophole to continue promoting their products, while leaving the local beer community in the dark.
“Should she live in Thailand right now, Lisa won’t be able to accept Chivas Regal’s role as its presenter,” wrote Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, beer activist-turned-MP of Move Forward Party, referring to Section 32 of Alcohol Beverage Control Act.
It’s like what Lisa said at the end of Chivas Regal's ads that success would mean nothing unless we share it. So how long do we have to put up with this?