Measuring an estimated 5 x 6m, the huge advertising hoarding is located right next to Wat Sanam Nuea, a revered local temple. To date, it has not featured any ads. Its appearance has outraged social media, with comments ranging from “appalling” and “horrendous” to “visual pollution”, “one more eyesore in an ocean of ugliness” and “yet another visual distraction on our roads”
Commented another resident: “Bangkok is suffering an epidemic of massive digital billboards,” a claim that rings true, given the number now lining the city’s roads and highways. One of the biggest, rising 20 storeys on the side of a condominium, is prominent on Rama 4 road. New digital technology enables it to display moving images of constantly changing products. More of these giants moving screens can be seen on Sathorn, Silom and Rama 3 roads.
As an apparent consequence of their growing popularity with advertisers, many of the old-style static billboards are now vacant without advertisements. Most countries restrict the number and frequency of roadside billboards, banning them altogether on motorways. In the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, they are prohibited country-wide.
“In terms of pure impact, surely they don’t work?” noted a Bangkok wag. “Because the driver must keep his eyes on the road – not on a colourful video, right?”