An investigation of Vietnamese Young Adult’s Attitudes toward ‘Digital Billboards’ and ‘Traditional Billboards’ On the Street


This research investigates the attitudes of Vietnamese young adults towards “Billboards” on the street, especially digital billboards. There is not any preceding study done on this topic in Vietnam context therefore this research will offer a better understanding of Vietnamese young Vietnamese adults’ attitudes and perceptions towards “Digital billboards” and “Traditional billboards” on the street. It will also help Vietnamese advertisers and marketers to understand more about billboards’ market in Vietnam and aid further statistics to future research. This research uses quantitative method to conduct a survey in the scale of 100 RMIT Vietnamese students.  The results show that young Vietnamese adults have more positive attitudes towards Digital Billboards than Traditional billboards. Digital billboards bring more brand recall for audiences (this is also a result collected from survey in both genders and majors)


Billboard in general is seen as out-of-home advertising (Taylor 2006). In the aspect of advertising, the appearance of digital billboards lends a hand to reinforce the brand equity and brand image of companies, businesses (Martin & Todorov 2013). Businesses believe digital billboard is one major factor deciding their success because digital billboards directly interact with audiences, attract huge number of observers and create longer attention by its function (than conventional one) (Mulhern 2009 & Todorov 2013). Furthermore, creative digital billboards with meaningful messages can easily catch audience’s attention and undoubtedly get viral (Franke, Bang & Taylor 2003).

On the other hand, some critics discuss that digital billboards annoy viewers’ eyes because of the bright lights and modern effects (Birdsall 2008). However, this is just one point of view; Vietnamese young adult may have different thoughts. Moreover, Vietnam is now considered to be a potential market for businesses to develop billboard advertising, even though businesses have to face government’s regulations about advertising outdoor, they still have ambitious and eager to invest (Thanh Vu 2015). My research aims to review what experts and businesses think about digital and traditional billboards and then examine what Vietnamese young adult think and feel about these billboards.

In this report, the first part I will begin with a literature review along with theories and concepts I use in the whole report. Next I will indicate the methodology which supports this research, it bases on 3 elements: participants, implement and procedure. The third part is my findings and discussion. Lastly, my conclusion will summarize the whole view of this report and expose some important findings then suggest some recommendations for further reports.

Literature Review

Digital Billboards from businesses’ view & experts’ view

Digital billboard seems to be a new trend in billboard advertising these days. Digital billboards are not only advertisements but they are the art on the street with diverse sensations and feelings (Decaux, 2007 & Thompson et all., 1999). It has an amazing function such as colorful lights, technological movements, LED performance, and offers a two-way benefit for both companies and their audiences (Martin & Todorov 2013). Companies have chances to reinforce their brand image and create brand awareness by making people recognize and remember their advertising billboard (Todorov 2013). There is no need to spend too much time on researching specific target audience for Digital billboards advertising because Digital Ads attract huge number of audience; there is no limitation of jobs, genders and ages (Todorov 2013). (Todorov 2013). However, businesses have to make sure that the idea of advertising and the meaning of delivered messages is engaging and creative enough to successfully attract audiences (Mulhern 2009). Nielsen has its advice: The more you understand your customers, the closer step to success you will have.

Digital billboards have a lot of advantages such as attracting new buyers, increasing and pushing sales, having visibility, 24 hours stably existence, bringing brand recall and brand awareness to audience (Taylor & Franke 2003). Creative digital billboard enhances brand recall therefore being creative is also a valuable key which unlocks success for any company (Dyck 2014).

Definition and comparison between traditional billboards and digital billboards

Advertising trend is like fashion, it is changing continuously and dynamically, from origins to modern (Hussain & Nizamani 2011). Digital billboard is one example of advertising trend; it is a transform of traditional billboard. The traditional billboards are non-movement billboards which business use to promote products; these billboards are usually color-printed materials; messages and images are stable (Osbone 2008). Digital billboards are eye-catching, movement billboards with lights and hi-tech function, images and messages change continuously and purposively (Osborne & Coleman 2008). To compare the effectiveness of these two types of billboard, a study has been made and the result shows digital billboard with smart, hi-tech function attract longer attention than conventional one (Birdsall 2008). It also brings more brand recall and pushes more sales than traditional billboard (Taylor & Franke 2003). In the world, “billboards” lobby spends millions of dollars every year on billboards to influence audiences (Hussain & Nizamani 2011). Based on a statistic from EMC outdoor research (2010), more than 2000 digital billboards are rented by American advertising businesses (Ehow, 2015).

Criticism about Digital billboards in some countries

Despite all of the advantages mentioned above, in some studies, digital billboards seem to be ugly, boring, annoyed and create hatred and anger for the citizens (Hussain & Nizamani 2011). Nizamani (2011) explained that citizens are angry and hatred because those digital billboards suddenly come into their eyes sight and they have to pay attention even though they do not want to see it and the process repeat again whenever they are on that road (Hussain & Nizamani 2011). Some ideas seem to be unpleasant with digital billboards; they feel bored. Some people think the lights of digital billboards are too bright, they feel annoyed and get angry about it. Some businesses have problems with technical function or because the chosen materials are not persuasive and creative enough (Messaris 1997). As I mention above, creativity is crucial advertising because it enhances brand recall and creates better visual persuasion (Dyck 2014 & Messaris 1997). For example, Coca-Cola has successful launched a lot of outdoor – interactive billboards based on their creativity and good research of consumer insight such as ‘Hello happiness’ or ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.

Literature gap

There are a huge number of studies about outdoor billboards but most of them come from developed countries such as America, England, Singapore, Hong Kong. There are a small number of studies conducting about outdoor billboards in developing countries, especially digital billboards in Viet Nam. Hence, I suggest doing a research/study to gain more knowledge and to deeply understand about the market of digital billboards in Asia context, chiefly in Viet Nam. To see how people think about this type of advertising and to absorb how people perceive these ads on the street. Vietnamese young adults are the target goal of this study. Their attitudes toward “Billboards” can be the same with American studies or can be different. It may be positive or negative. Therefore, my research question is:

RQ: What do Vietnamese young adult think about billboards on the street? (Traditional and Digital)


This study uses quantitative method to collect the data to answer the research question. This research approach is considered as an objectively systematic process in which allow users to collect numerical data to estimate or measure the trends or the phenomena and produce findings (Crowther and Lancaster 2012). This method is beneficial because it’s effective, flexible and generalizable when we collect data (Donley 2012).


The scale for this research sample is 100 RMIT students.  They are from 18 to 24 years old (M=21, R=6, SD=1.2). 71% of them are females and 29% are males. Participants come from different majors:  46% of them were from Professional Communication, 9% from Business, 14% from Commerce, 12% from Design, 13% from Finance and 6% from other programs. This sampling method is convenient because it helps me to save time and money however there also has its limitation. The scale is quite small but represent for the whole Vietnamese young adults, it can be bias because we cannot make sure participants answer


The tool I use is survey questionnaire, offline survey. Surveys help researchers to collect data from a large size, save time and money also (Schutt 2011). Survey questionnaire also offers a higher possibility of precise statistics (Keyton 2006).

There are 9 questions in my survey. The first 2 questions are about participants’ perception about ‘’Billboards”. The next 4 questions are about their attitudes towards Traditional billboards and Digital billboards. The last 3 questions are about their demographics.


Before I give the final survey to participants, I have done a consultation with my lecturer and I also have done a pre-testing survey with 20 classmates in order to find and fix mistakes. When I finish editing, I go around RMIT campus (cafeteria and labs and student rooms) and ask students around nicely to complete my survey.

After completing collecting data, I used Excel to carry out statistical numbers and facts to answer the research question. Finally, I use charts (column charts and pie chart) to illustrate and clarify the statistics received from the collected data; then, I estimated the data one more time to find out the probable answers for my RQ.

Findings and Discussion


Students in different majors and their decision towards Digital Billboards and Traditional ones


In general, my collected data has shown that the majority of participants tend to pay more attention to Digital Billboards than Traditional Billboards. 88% of participants had interested in Digital outdoor Ads; only 12% chose Traditional outdoor Ads. In detail, the data collected in particular majors also showed the positive attitude of participants toward Digital Billboards.    34% of profcomm students had interested and paid more attention to Digital Billboards than Traditional Billboards. 12% design students had decided Digital Billboards attracted them more than Traditional Billboards. In the sample, 0% design students paid attention to Traditional Billboards. 79% of students (from 6 majors) prefer Digital outdoor Ads, only 21% of students (from all 6 majors) prefer Traditional outdoor Ads.

Different attitudes between Digital Billboards and Traditional Billboards


In the chosen sample, a comparison between Digital billboards and Traditional billboards has been made to see participants’ attitudes towards this type of advertising. As a result, 31% of respondents agreed Digital billboards were entertaining, 59% of them agreed Digital billboards were eye-catching, only 10% felt bored and annoying. Compared to Digital billboards, 50% of respondents felt bored when they saw Traditional billboards while only 5% felt bored when they saw Digital billboards. However, 5% thought Digital outdoor ads were annoying while only 2% of respondents believed traditional ads were annoying.

Differences about remembering the Ads between Digital & Traditional Billboards from both genders


There were 71 females and 29 males participated in this survey. My collected data has shown that 78% of respondents (21% males and 57% females) agreed they remembered Digital billboards they saw on the street more than traditional ads. 22% of respondents (8% male, 14% female) disagreed. However, to compare, there were more male and female agreed that Digital billboards stayed in their mind longer than traditional billboards. (57% females chose Digital ads, only 14% females chose Traditional ads; 21% males chose Digital ads, only 8% of them chose Traditional ads).


In my research, 88% of participants agreed that they pay longer attention to Digital billboards than Traditional billboards when they saw these ads on the street. This result is similar to my literature review that Digital billboards attract longer attention than conventional one (Birdsall 2008).

Moreover, my first finding has shown that 79% of participants from different programs in RMIT agree that Digital billboards are more attractive than Traditional outdoor ads, which is similar to Todorov’s idea from my literature review, he stated that there is no need to spend too much time on researching specific target audience for Digital billboards advertising because Digital Ads attract huge number of audience, there is no limitation of jobs, genders and ages (Todorov 2013). It’s true because I try to survey participants from different majors in school to collect more different thoughts and feels towards “Billboards”, maybe design students and commerce students may think differently. However, the result shows participants in every major prefer Digital outdoor ads.

In the sample, my second finding has indicated that 90% of participants felt Digital billboards were eye-catching and entertaining. This is different to my literature review that digital billboards seem to be boring, annoyed and create hatred and anger for the citizens (Hussain & Nizamani 2011). My research’s result seems more positive than the literature review provided by Hussian & Nizamani (2011).

Lastly, my third finding is very well-connected to my literature review which is said: Digital billboards bring more brand recall and enhance brand recognition in audience perception (Dyck 2014, Taylor & Franke 2003). 78% of participants agreed Digital billboard bring more brand recall, they agreed that they remember the digital outdoor ads more than traditional ones.

I also try to find out if any difference between genders is made through choices of “Traditional” and “Digital” billboards. However, the result is no difference. Both males and females prefer Digital outdoor ads.


My research aims to explore the attitudes of Vietnamese young adults towards Traditional billboards and Digital billboards on the street. The results showed the majority of participants had more positive feeling for Digital billboards than conventional ones. Moreover, I found that almost Vietnamese young adults had positive attitude towards billboards on the street, especially digital billboards. After the research, it was surprising when I found almost everyone prefers Digital billboards even when they were from different majors (profcomm, commerce, design, business, finance…), different genders and also different ages, their attitudes are the same. From my literature review and from the result of my survey, I recommend advertisers and marketers should focus on developing digital billboards market in Viet Nam because: Digital billboards guarantee bringing 99,9% brand recall and enhance brand recognition in audience perception (Franke, Taylor 2003). The more audiences remember your brand, the closer step to success you will have. My research topic is quite clear so I suggest further research should include all of Vietnamese young adults in Vietnam (not only 100 students) in order to have precise statistics and findings.

List of References

Baxter, L & Babbie, E 2003, ‘The Basic of Communication Research’, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, USA, pp.59-60

BirdSall, M 2008, ‘The Debate over Digital Billboards: Can New Technology Inform Drivers without Distracting Them?’, Journal of Institute of Transportation Engineers, vol.78, iss.4, pp.22-27.

Donley, AM 2012, Student Handbook to Sociology: Research Methods, Infobase Publishing, New York, NY, pp. 20-26.

Decaux, JC 2007, “Sensational Billboards in Advertising”, Tectum Publishers, Belgium

Dyck, F 2014, “Advertising Transformed: The New Rules For The Digital Age”, Kogan Page Limited Publication, 1st edn.,  USA, pp.15-53

Ehow, 2015, ‘Digital billboard’, Ehow, viewed on 8th March, 2015, <>

Franke, G & Bang, H & Taylor,C 2006, ‘Use and effectiveness of billboards: Perspectives from Selective-Perception Theory and Retail-Gravity Model’, Journal of advertising, vol. 35, iss. 4, pp.1-35

Hussain, J & Nizamani, R 2011, “Factors Affecting Consumer Attention in Billboards Advertising”, Journal of Management Sciences South Asian, vol.5, no.2, pp.60-64

Keyton, J 2006, Communication research: Asking questions, finding answers, 2nd edn, McGraw Hill, New York, NY.

Schutt, R 2011, Investigating the social world: The process and practice of research, Sage publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Todorov, I & Martin, K 2013 ‘How Will Digital Platforms be Harnessed in 2010, and How Will They Change the Way People Interact with Brands?’, Journal of Interactive Advertising, vol.10, iss.2.

Mulhern, F 2009, ‘Intergreted Marketing Communications: From media channels to Digital Connectivity’, Journal of Marketing Communications, vol.15, iss.2-3, pp.85-101.

Messaris, P 1997, “Visual Persuasion: The Role of Images in Advertising”, Sage Publication, California.

Osborne, A & Coleman, A 2008, “Outdoor advertising recall: A comparison of newer technology & traditional billboards”, Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising, vol. 30, iss. 1, pp. 13-30.

Taylor, C & Franke, G 2003, “Business Perceptions of the Role of Billboards in the U.S. Economy,” Journal of Advertising Research, pp. 150–161

Thompson, J , Heon, L & Diggs, P 1999, “Billboard – Art On The Road”, Mass Moca Publications, Marshall Street, US.

Thanh Vu 2015, “Đóng bang quảng cáo ngoài trời”, Báo đầu tư Online, viewed on 17th May 2015, <>

Vespe, F 1997, “High-Tech Billboards: The Same Old Litter on a Stick. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing”, vol.16, pp. 176-179



Vietnamese Young Adult Attitudes and Behaviors toward ‘Digital Billboards’ On the Street

My name is Thu Ha and I am from Professional Communication. I am conducting the survey as a part of my assignment for the course COMM2492. You are invited to this survey because you frequently see outdoor billboard advertising. The purpose of this survey is to understand attitudes and behaviors of Vietnamese young adults toward Digital Billboard advertising. By Digital Billboards, I mean Hi-tech billboards with modern function such as colorful lights, technological movements, LED performance, moving image and moving words. Meanwhile, Traditional Billboards are non-movement billboards, stable images and words, color-printed or painted material. Digital and traditional billboards are all large outdoor boards for displaying advertisements.

This survey will take approximately 3 minutes to complete. Your participation in this survey is voluntary and I do not ask for your name. Please answer all the questions according to your own thoughts and experiences. Please use (ü). Thanks for you participation.

  1. Do you often pay attention to Billboards on the street?

¨   Yes                        ¨   No

  1. If yes, what type of billboards do you often pay attention to? (If no, move to 3)

¨   Digital Billboards                        ¨   Traditional Billboards                ¨   Both of them

  1. What do you think about the Digital Billboards on the street?

¨   Annoying             ¨   Eye-catching                   ¨   Entertaining            ¨  Bored

  1. How do you feel when you see a Traditional Billboards on the street?

¨   Bored                   ¨   Eye-catching                   ¨   Entertaining            ¨  Annoying

  1. Which kind of outdoor ads do you pay more attention to?

¨   Digital                  ¨   Traditional

  1. Which kind of outdoor ads do you remember more?

¨   Digital                  ¨   Traditional

  1. What is your biological sex?

¨   Male                     ¨   Female

  1. What is your age?

¨   18                         ¨   19                  ¨   20                    ¨   21                  ¨   22-24

  1. Which majors are you in?

¨Professional communication       ¨Business

¨Commerce                                      ¨Finance

¨Design                                             ¨Others



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