Rumours that the winner's well-to-do father spent a million baht on votes provokes some to drop Unilever products.
Thailand's got talent ... and an earful, Controversial results have somewhat marred the success of the hit TV programme for its sponsor by Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
When Thailand's Got Talent hit local TV screens early this year, it became an instant hit, with the public holding its breath for the Thai version of Susan Boyle.
Thirteen-year-old Maneepatsorn ‘Myra’ Molloy (right) is the controversial winner of the popular Unilever-sponsored TV show ‘Thailand’s Got Talent’. However, many of the other contestants, pictured at left, have already gone on to make other TV appearances and sign music deals.
But when the curtain fell two weeks ago, the programme was widely criticised, especially in the cyberworld, for allegedly unfair votes cast for the winner. Rumours had it that her well-to-do father spent at least a million baht to vote for her.
The heavy criticism of the voting for 13-year-old Maneepatsorn 'Myra' Molloy also sent shock waves through Unilever Thai Trading, which spent 200 million baht acquiring the show rights from London. The consumer products multinational was accused of rigging the results from the start and is now at risk of seeing the image and credibility of its brands tarnished instead or burnished.
Some angry viewers posted on the internet that they would stop using Unilever products such as Sunsilk shampoo and Rexona deodorant.
Some said the show was produced in a way that fooled audiences. Others said it should drop the word "talent" from its name, as it chose the winner based on votes and the voting process lacks accountability.
With her silky long hair, Myra is also seen as well-suited as the new presenter for Sunsilk shampoo. After receiving the 10-million-baht prize, she will become a singer under the Sony Music label soon.
Amid the criticism, Wannipa Bhakdibutra, the vice-president for health and beauty aids of Unilever, said the company was very satisfied with the results of the show.
"The show's ratings have broken all records in the Thai TV industry, including the Korean series that was the old champ. It allowed our brands to access families, our target group," she said.
Asked about the concern over possible damage to its brand image from complaints in the internet community, Ms Wannipa said only that the response to the show had exceeded her earlier expectations.
She explained Universal did not have any intention of bringing the show to Thailand to generate more sales - it just wanted Thais to have a space to show their talents.
However, she acknowledged that the show would improve Sunsilk and Rexona brand awareness in the long run.
Teerapun Lotongkum, a guest lecturer from Chulalongkorn University, said that whether Thailand's Got Talent drew positive or negative comments from viewers, Sunsilk and Rexona stood to gain in terms of awareness.
"Social networking is very effective in creating positive or negative buzz. Word of mouth could spread like wildfire to a huge audience around the world," he said.
However, the brand image may not be enhanced as intended if the response from the show is negative.
The criticism on social networking sites may not have an extensive effect as it is limited only to urban people. The show's licence-holder may not pay much attention either, as its main target is mass consumers.
The show raised suspicions among the public because Unilever controlled everything. It was the show's licence-holder and main sponsor.
The show's content also differed from the Talent shows in other countries, as there are commercially related activities and hidden ads with Unilever's firm grip.
But Mrs Wannipa and Panya Nirunkul of Workpoint Entertainment insist there was no vote rigging and that the show adhered to the same standards as the original.
Unilever, when acquiring the show licence, had a clear business agenda of seeking commercial benefits for its two brands - Sunsilk and Rexona, said Dr Teerapun.
In fact, he said, Unilever should have struck a balance between commercial benefits and show content.
"While it's true Unilever gained some brand awareness for Sunsilk and Rexona, the two brands are already very popular. Unilever would have gained much more if it had replaced them with its other less popular brands to feature in the show," he said.
"The rules are clear from the beginning. You can't blame the programme for not giving the award to the most talented contestant. Even Susan Boyle, who was one of the favourite and most talented contestants in the UK show, was not the winner. I may not think Myra is the best, but it's not her fault that her family is rich. It's not based on the judge, but on the number of votes," said Prawpailin Jai-on, a private employee.
Somsak Hemrun, 32, who was among the finalists, said he accepted the result. Already, he has had a chance to appear on many TV shows. Additionally, the 48 finalist teams will get a chance to sign as artists with Sony Music Thailand and Workpoint Entertainment.
(Source: Bangkok Post, Thailand's got talent ... and an earful, Controversial results have somewhat marred the success of the hit TV programme for its sponsor, 10/06/2011
Pitsinee Jitpleecheep, link)
talent - a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught ความสามารถพิเศษ
results - what is produced in the end by an activity or task
marred - ruined, destroyed
sponsor - to support a person, organization or activity by giving money, encouragement or other help อุปถัมภ์, สนับสนุน
local - in this country (here: Thailand)
instant hit - became popular immediately, without delay, without waiting
holding its breath - not breathing (here means: very excited about something about to happen)
controversial - causing disagreement or disapproval, a topic that people disagree about, fight, argue, or debate about ความขัดแย้ง, ความไม่ลงรอยกัน
sponsored - when a company pays money for an event or TV show to happen
contest - when many people compete for some prize (examples: a singing contest, a writing contest, a dancing contest, an eating contest.... etc)
contestant - one of many people competing for a prize in a contest
TV appearance - when a celebrity or other VIP is on a TV show (being interviewed, acting, etc)
sign music deal - when a music company asks you to record a CD (that they will then sell)
curtain - a long piece of cloth that hangs down or covers a window or a stage
when the curtain fell - at the end of the show
criticism (noun) - finding fault with something (errors, incorrect interpretations) and expressing disapproval การวิจารณ์
amid the criticism - at the same time as the criticism, while people were criticising
criticise (verb) - find fault with
cyberworld - the world of the internet (all the content, articles, videos, audio and the people who use them)
allegedly - claimed but not yet proven ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
cast - (of a vote) to vote by putting marking your voting paper (ballot) and putting it in the ballot box ลงคะแนน
unfair votes cast for the winner
rumour - gossip, hearsay ข่าวลือ
well-to-do - rich
spent - use ใช้ไป (examples: He spent some time with her. She spent all her money at the shop.)
shock wave - 1. a high pressure movement through the air caused by an explosion or earthquake; 2. after a surprising negative event, the reactions of people as they spread from person to person
sent shock waves through - surprised person after person after person
show rights - owning the TV show (or owning permission to show the TV show in a country or area)
consumer - someone who buys and uses goods and services ผู้บริโภค
consumer products - everyday products that families and individuals buy such as soaps or toothpaste, etc
multinational - a large company that operates in many different countries (Unilever sells products like shampoo all over the world)
rigging the results - arranging dishonestly for the result of something
risk - the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง
at risk - something dangerous might happen (causing harm or damage)
image - an opinion that people have about someone or something ภาพลักษณ์ the picture of something that people have in their mind, what people think about something
credibility - believability, the degree to which something can be believed or trusted ความน่าเชื่อถือ,ความน่าไว้วางใจ
brand - a type of product made by a particular company, products with well-established names that people remember, that create a certain image and expectations about the product ตรา, ยี่ห้อ
enhance brand image - when people are made to have a better opinion of the brand (after some good event)
damage to its brand image - when people have a bad opinion about a brand after some bad event
awareness - the state of knowing about something การรับรู้, การทราบ
brand awareness - when lots of people know about a brand
tarnished - spoiled; making people have a worse opinion of you than they did before เสียหาย ด่างพร้อย
burnished - polish; make shine brighter
audience - the people who watch an event happen, the group of people gathered in one place to watch or listen to a play, film, someone speaking, etc. ผู้ชม
fool - deceive, lie, do things to make someone belief something that is not true หลอกลวง, โกหก
fool audiences - make the audience belief something that is not true
process - a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
accountability - being required to explain why all your decisions or actions were made, a situation where people have the right to ask you about or criticise you for something that has happened ความน่าเชื่อถือ
voting process lacks accountability - the voting for stars in the show is not explained to people enough
label - a company which produces goods for sale, the goods themselves, or the company's name or symbol ชื่อ, ตรา, เครื่องหมายการค้า
record - when someone does something more, better, longer than anyone else has ever done สถิติ
break a record - do better than an existing record
broken all records - do better than all the records that exist
series - TV series, a set of TV broadcasts on the same subject or using the same characters but in different situations หนังชุด
champ - winner, champion ผู้ชนะเลิศ
access - the ability to get something สิทธิหรือโอกาสในการใช้
access families - getting "access" to families (meaning: having families watch the ads for their products)
target - a goal เป้าหมาย
concern - a worry ความกังวล
complaints - when people say there is something wrong and they want it changed
community - all the people who live in a place and know each other (haev something in common and are friends)
internet community - the people on the internet who share common interests (chat and socialize on the internet)
expectations - what people think and believe will happen in the future การคาดคะเน
intention - goal; a plan in your mind to do something ความตั้งใจ เจตนา แผนการ
generate - to produce ก่อให้เกิด create สร้าง กระตุ้นให้เิกิด
acknowledged - accepted something as true
improve - to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น
positive - good ที่ดี
negative - bad ที่เป็นด้านลบ
effective - works well, gets the job done; producing the result that was intended ได้ผลดี
buzz - talk about something (same as "word of mouth" below)
word of mouth - when information passes from person to person (so in the end, many people know about something)
spread - to gradually affect or cover a larger area แพร่กระจายไปทั่ว, แพร่กระจาย
spread like wildfire - spread very quickly
intended - planned; wanted to happen ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น
social networking sites - websites like Twitter and Facebook where people meet and chat and socialize with other people
extensive - includes a wide variety of things ที่มีมากมาย
urban - in a city or town (not rural area) ในเมือง
licence - an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something ใบอนุญาต
show's licence-holder - the company that owns the rights to present the show to the public
mass - large numbers จำนวนมหาศาล
consumers - people who buy things (individuals and families)
content - the stories and pictures inside a newspaper, website or other form of media เนื้อหา สาระ
show content - content that is in the TV program
grip - control; to control completely; have a strong affect on something ได้รับผลกระทบ
have a firm grip on - control strongly
insist - to keep saying very firmly that something is true ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
standards - an acceptable level of quality or achievement มาตรฐาน
clear - easy to understand
agenda - a list of goals or issues to be discussed at a meeting กำหนดการ
commercial - for business purposes
benefits - goods things that can happen from an activity ผลประโยชน์
feature - to include someone or something as an important part ทำให้เด่น
award - a prize or a sum of money that is given to someone following an official decision รางวัล
talented - having a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught ซึ่งมีพรสวรรค์ very good at something ความสามารถพิเศษ
contestant - someone who competes in a contest ผู้แข่งขัน
it's not her fault - she is not to blame
employee - someone who is paid regularly to work for a person or an organisation ลูกจ้าง
private employee - works for a company (that is people not the government)
had a chance to - had an opportunity to
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