12 July 2024

An LED billboard, featuring exiled Thai scholar Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, from the Centre for Southeast Asian Students at Kyoto University, who is a well-known monarchy critic, as the new brand ambassador for “Ophtus” glasses has been abruptly removed from the Siam Square One shopping mall in Bangkok by Chulalongkorn University today (Friday).

According to the Ophtus’ Facebook page, the billboard company was told by Chulalongkorn University, the owner of the land on which the shopping mall is located, to remove the picture of Dr. Pavin at the entrance from the Siam BTS Skytrain station, for fear that it could become a focal point for protests.

Ophtus unveiled its new brand ambassador, Pavin, on Tuesday, with a plan to showcase him on the billboard today, inviting those interested to take their picture with the scholar’s image.

It said that Dr. Pavin was chosen as the new face of the brand because his lifestyle matches the promotional campaign’s concept of “Eyewear for All.”

Pavin, meanwhile, said that he would donate the 100,000 baht fee he receives to human rights organisations in Thailand. He later said that some of the amount had already been given to the fund set up to support anti-establishment protest leaders for their bail requests.

Ophtus is no stranger to politically-inspired sales promotions. On June 28th last year, it launched a campaign, in cooperation with pro-democracy groups, offering a 100 baht discount for each purchase to anyone who signed a signature collection campaign to amend the Constitution and to oust the government.

It also said that Pavin is still its brand ambassador. His image will appear on a vinyl instead of an LED billboard and it will be displayed at its shop in Siam Square Soi 5.

Nevertheless, it said that the plus side of the removal of the LED promotional presentation may make more people interested in their product.