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Saigon Lifts Ban on Public Bus Advertising

Saigon’s 2002 ban on public advertising has been lifted, allowing for advertisements on public buses, taxis and trains. The move has been welcomed by advertisers, seeking to expand their reach, and the city, which estimates that bus ads will fetch nearly $5 million in annual revenue.

A new advertising law, passed at the end of last year by the national assembly, removed the 10 year ban on public transportation advertising. But, as with many laws in Vietnam, its ambiguity has forced advertising agencies to play the waiting game:

“We are not yet to know what this would mean by allowing advertising on busses in HCMC because other cities like Hanoi, Can Tho and Da Nang do not have such a ban,” said a local industry insider.

They went on to say that advertising won’t be seen on buses until at least 2015 as details are ironed out and red tape is cut.

Ad agencies are excited about the possibility of an entirely new advertising channel. Lam Le, managing director at MediaCom Vietnam, feels that the city’s transportation habits will lend themselves well to out of home (OOH) advertising:

“Vietnam consists mainly of motorbikes, and our media habit research also shows that out-of home, including busses, is one of the top channels with high views.”

Le Hai Phong, director of the Public Transport Management Center, is quoted as saying that adding billboards to Saigon’s 3,000 buses could yield $4.78 million annually.

With the new fleet of CNG busses on the way, 2015 will likely see a physically cleaner, but more visually cluttered city.


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