In France, Car Ads Will Soon Promote ... Walking

And bicycles, under new regulation that goes into effect in March
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2022 4:20 PM CST
In France, Car Ads Will Soon Promote ... Bicycles
   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Beginning in March, car ads in France will increasingly promote ... bicycles. And walking, public transportation, or reducing the number of cars on the road by carpooling. That's due to a new regulation that kicks in that month that requires automakers including messaging in their ads that encourages people to turn to more environmentally friendly types of transportation. The Washington Post reports the carmakers will have three specific lines to consider incorporating, which it translates as:

  • "For short trips, opt for walking or cycling."
  • "Consider carpooling."
  • "Use public transportation for everyday trips."

The Local reports it falls short of what environmental activists in France wanted—a ban on all car advertising—but it's still serious. The messaging must be both audible and visible and must include the hashtag #SeDéplacerMoinsPolluer (that's #MovePolluteLess, per the Post.) It applies to TV, radio, internet, and print ads. Those who violate the rules can incur a roughly $56,000 fine, reports NPR, which notes emissions tied to transportation make up 25% of EU emissions. Not all carmakers are thrilled. As CEO of Hyundai in France Lionel French Keogh puts it, "If I am doing a short journey and have to go along a main road, I will do so neither on foot nor by bicycle."

The Post reports there's some precedent for the regulation in France, where tobacco ads are banned altogether and ads for junk foods must include language promoting the consumption of fruits and vegetables or suggesting consumers eat less junk food. (Read more advertising stories.)

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