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Car ads must include message to use other forms of transportation

Updated: Apr 9, 2022

You’re watching TV, and all of a sudden, an ad comes up urging you to buy its latest car model. However, much to your surprise, at the end of the ad, it tells you to take public transport on a day to day basis. Shouldn’t ads be advertising their products, rather than telling you to use an alternative? This is the future of car ads in France.

Starting March 2022, all car ads in France will need to add a message to promote a more environmentally friendly option. They must include one of three of the following options:

  • “Consider carpooling.”

  • “For day-to-day use, take public transportation.”

  • “For short trips, opt for walking or cycling.”

The legislation applies to the radio, television, theaters, internet, and print ads. The fine for not including it can be as high as $56,000.

According to Barbara Pompili, France's ecological transition minister, “decarbonizing transport is not just switching to an electric motor.” The impact of this law would be significant. Cars made up 41% of the transportation that emitted 7.3 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2020. The more people that view these ads with a PSA, the more people will use greener methods of transportation.

On top of this law, this is France’s first step in the larger goal of alleviating climate change. Plans include making it a must for car companies to include their vehicles' carbon emissions class in their promotions. Additionally, starting in 2028, France is banning the ads of the highest-polluting vehicle.

After the announcement of future requirements, several companies have expressed dissatisfaction but agreed to follow the rules. Some companies like Hyundai said that “zero-emission transportation is the future,” but “stigmatizing the automobile” was “counterproductive” since it generalizes all vehicles. Regardless, they will have to adapt to these changes.

It will be a while before North America implements this law however it is a significant step forward towards a greener climate.

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