I Hate Thailand - reverse psychology clip goes viral, but will it work?News / OnlineBy Kevin May | December 1, 2014Share This article was originally published on Tourism bosses in Thailand are no doubt extremely pleased that a quirky marketing campaign has captured the attention of many.The Tourism Authority of Thailand admitted last week it was behind the five-minute clip.Released a fortnight ago without any official branding from TAT, I Hate Thailand has since amassed 1.8 million views on YouTube.The clip is being labelled as an anti-campaign, in that it depicts a British backpacker who loses his belongings and rants away about how much he hates the country.It gets sugary pretty quickly, of course, as the "victim" falls in love, discovers new things about Thailand and what to do there.The campaign is far too slickly produced to (hopefully) ever have fooled views that it was anything close to being a user generated video, but the very idea that it shines a light on some of the less tourist-friendly elements in Thailand is an interesting concept.TAT governor Thawatchai Arunyik says: "The intention of this video is solely to depict the renowned Thai hospitality, demonstrating that Thais are ready to be a good host and offer a helping hand to tourists who need help. "This video is intended for both domestic and international tourists. For the domestic market, the intention is to remind and educate the Thai people to always be a good host and not to take advantage of tourists, but to offer help to tourists when they need it. "For the international market, we would like to convey that beyond the beauty of the Thai beaches – one of the main tourist attractions – Thai people are very kind and ready to be a good host to all tourists."Share this quote But in real terms, Thailand currently has a bit of problem.The violent attack and subsequent murder on a Thai beach of two British backpackers a few months ago capped a pretty miserable year for the image of the country.Producing a off-kilter, almost satirical video such as I Hate Thailand might show a bit of creativity on the part of Thai's tourism chiefs, but the problem arguably runs a lot deeper.The country was shaken (yet again) in May this year by a coup d'etat, led by the Thai army.The latest military junta which emerged was accused of being particularly ruthless with anyone daring to speak out against the regime, including academics, rival politicians and domestic and foreign journalists.As a result, TAT (which is essentially part of the state machinery) has obviously been working tirelessly ever since to paint a better picture of the country.But there are two sides to TAT.The latest clip might show a softer, more humorous side to the organisation, but six months ago it took a harder (and more curious) line in order to capture the attention of overseas visitors.In June this year it held an event (initially planned in 2013) to bring a group of travel bloggers to the Thai capital to "showcase to the world that Bangkok/Thailand is open for business".The reason, its partner Digital Innovation Asia said, was due to bloggers being more trustworthy, rather than the mainstream, international media which was instead highlighting the junta's activities. "Today, TAT, hotel brands, and all our partners understand the limitations and obvious biases of international news reporting, and that bloggers have become the 'communication answer' to report the correctness of the situation in Bangkok and in Thailand."Share this quote Founder Jens Thraenhart later said: "When the military coup happened, we simply did not cancel the event, and just continued. So no bloggers were targeted to write positive copy. "But since we had 25 bloggers from all the world that had committed to come to Bangkok, we simply saw the opportunity to have them tell the story about the truth of life in Bangkok and Thailand - which was unfortunately misinterpreted by traditional media. "The misinformation by traditional media led to general fear by the world to travel to Thailand, which resulted in grave in tourism arrivals, and impacted businesses, and employees in hotels, retail, restaurants, etc."Share this quote The I Hate Thailand video may give the country some much needed, positive attention, but once the praise for its marketing activity subsides plenty of questions will remain over safety of tourists and, of equal importance, the lengths the regime will go to in order to dismiss or muzzle any dissent.