France says auto ads must come with a caveat: Walk, bike, or public transit

Vehicular emission is a sore subject in the auto market these days and the advent of electric vehicles promises a greener future. However, the road towards an emission-free atmosphere is long with numerous hurdles. Pollution due to vehicular emission is one of the core contributors of global warming and EU Countries have been searching and devising ways to counter this dilemma.

As France is among the top stakeholders in the EU, it has mandated that the auto manufacturers must urge and try to compel the audience to walk, cycle or take public transport in their advertisements.

This unique decision is not abrupt as the concerned environmental groups in the country have been campaigning to minimize vehicular emissions which makes up a significant chunk of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. The European Environment Agency states that the concentration of transport emissions makes up almost a quarter of the aforementioned polluted discharge.

Moreover, such ‘green’ disclaimers already appear on a myriad of consumable products. For example, buyers are instigate to consume five portions of fruits and vegetables daily when they purchase a measly snickers bar.

This PSA has received mixed reviews as some claim it will promote the use of public transport while others state that it can never negate the need for cars. Let’s suppose in Pakistan where buying a personal car is a dream for the average middle-class person, the sale for Suzuki alto automatic for sale in Lahore is omnipresent.

Pointers for the PSA

Mentioning alternative transport methods in-car ads will start from March 2022 regardless of the fact whether they are print or electronic media. However, the compulsion for mentioning this hasn’t  seen in digital media. Automakers that don’t urge the audience to walk/bike will be fined up to 50,000 euros (about $56,500).

According to the mandate, the text needs to be legible on the print ad and must necessarily appear horizontally while occupying a space of at least 7% on the ad. Therefore, the advertising geniuses can’t get away with hiding it anywhere on the print ad. In the case of radio, the voice needs to be clear and must speek at the end of the car advertisement.

The first one is “pour les trajets courts, privilégiez la marche ou le vélo” which loosely translates to ‘walk or take your bike if you are travelling a short distance’.

The second narrative is “pensez à covoiturer” which translates to ‘Prefer car-sharing services to reduce the impact of fuel consumption’.

Thirdly, the car makers can opt for “au quotidien, prenez les transports en commun” which urges the public to use public transportation for everyday trips use.

Response from the Audience and Car Consumers

Some have mocked the decision however some have lauded the French Government’s novel initiative. Automobile dependency is a necessary evil but a multimodal approach can help sort our commuting woes. Better and improved transit and pedestrian infrastructure can help reduce vehicular emissions along with traffic congestion while promoting energy efficiency.

Those who are mocking this initiative say that this is just a ‘greenie liberal’ propaganda and has no real value in real life as the government needs to build better walking infrastructure that is pedestrian-friendly then make such gullible demands.

 The representatives from Volkswagen have been pretty accommodating and they state that they’ll comply with the new mandate. Moreover, Hyundai France CEO Lionel French Keogh has raise some concerns and pointe out a very valid point that the need for driving can never be reduce and counters the government incentive to promote the selling of EVs. Honestly speaking if this happens in Pakistan the car sale in Pakistan won’t be affected at all nor will it instigate people to buy bikes or walk long distances in the scorching summer sun.

Can Something like this be Beneficial in Pakistan?

If the government of Pakistan starts such types of public service messages which promote the use of public transit or carpooling, it will never reduce sales of cars or the searches for a Suzuki alto automatic for sale in Lahore.

These PSAs are reminiscent of the government banning advertisements of cigarettes on TV and their branding but have it stopped the ever-increasing sales of tobacco. People have various reasons for opting to travel via their cars. The first and foremost is comfort and easy access. Next is the glory that comes with owning a car which acts as a status symbol. Owing to these reasons car sale in Pakistan can never be halted or minimized.

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