In France, cars as cigarettes: advertisements should advise against their use

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In the beginning it was cigarettes, then it was the turn of sugar, alcohol and tobacco. In France, consumers will now be advised not to use cars, or at least advised to give priority to other, less polluting modes of transport.

Starting from 1 March, manufacturers across the Alps will in fact have to dispense advice to cut emissions by promoting active mobility, carpooling and the use of public transport. The Ministry for Ecological Transition has approved the new provision requiring manufacturers to include one of these three phrases in all car advertisements: “For short trips, do you prefer to walk or cycle”, “Think about carpooling” or “Daily use public transport ”.

These disclaimers must also be accompanied by the hashtag «# SeDéplacerMoinsPolluer», or «Moving with less pollution».

Fine of 50,000 euros for those who do not comply with the law
The rule will be applied to any type of advertising, broadcast via radio, television, internet, cinema, screens, billboards and print media. And whoever transgresses, after an initial formal notice, risks a fine of 50,000 euros for each advertisement that does not comply with the provisions, which can rise to 100,000 euros in the event of a repeat offense.

The measure had already been introduced by the law on mobility guidelines of December 2019, and in April the obligation to indicate the carbon dioxide emission class was also introduced, all measures established with the “Climate & Resilience” bill. . Among the other innovations concerning the environment, in article 4, starting from the second half of 2022, the stop to advertising for fossil fuels, i.e. petrol, diesel and other derivatives of extractive origin such as methane, was imposed starting from the second half of 2022, and from 2028 It will be forbidden to promote the most polluting vehicles through advertising channels (those that emit more than 123 grams of CO2 per kilometer): an adaptation strategy in view of 2035, the year that the European Commission has chosen to stop thermal engines. In Paris, in reality, the stop to the most polluting vehicles was established as early as 2030.

The fears of manufacturers and the media
The new decisions inevitably sparked protests from manufacturers (already penalized by the coronavirus pandemic, the forced acceleration towards electric mobility and the shortage of raw materials such as chips to carry out the transition) and fears among advertising agencies, of communication and the media, concerned about the repercussions on the turnover deriving from advertising. However, these are already compromises, given that the most extreme wing of French ecologists would have wanted more restrictive measures, with a total ban on advertising for cars.

«We will adapt, but there is a paradox – the CEO of Hyundai France, Lionel French Keogh told AFP – There is no distinction between the engines. It is somewhat counterproductive in relation to the government’s willingness to push sales of electric cars ». However, the law is there, and there are now less than two months before its entry into force: “We will comply with the legislation and we will analyze with our advertising agency the means to comply with it from the date of application”, the Volkswagen group limited itself to confirming.

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