France makes it mandatory for car ads to recommend other alternatives

“Drink in moderation.” “Take the stairs.” “Exercise regularly.” We have already gotten used to these warnings that, necessarily, brands have had to include in their advertisements. But what if car ads had to include them too?

At the moment France has passed a law that obliges manufacturers to place messages in their advertisements that they recommend to the public to use less polluting means of transport.

Decarbonize message-based transport

Article 1 of the law included in the Highway Code, and which will come into force in March, specifies that car ads -without distinction- must include at least one of these three messages:

  • “For short trips, choose to walk or bike”
  • “Think carpooling”
  • “Use public transportation every day”

It applies to both television spots, radio spots, movie advertisements, billboards, online advertising spaces and also in print media.

These messages, the law specifies, “shall be presented in an easily legible or audible form and clearly distinguishable from the advertising message and from any other mandatory mention”. In addition, it should include the hahstag “# SeDéplacerMoinsPolluer” (“#DriveContaminateLess”).

In case of not complying with this regulation, brands face fines of 50,000 euros for every time they broadcast a spot without the message.

Also as of March 1, manufacturers will have to include the average CO₂ emissions of the vehicles they advertise, something that we have seen at the European level for a long time.

According to data collected by The world, SUVs represent 42% of brands’ investments in advertising in France.

“Decarbonizing transport is not just changing to electric vehicles. Public transport or bicycles are also used, when possible,” said the French Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, who also signs the new law.


This decision forms apart from the country’s plan, strong advocate of nuclear energy, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through traffic restrictions in the center of Paris or goals such as banning the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2035.

In October 2021, a citizens’ initiative approved by the European Commission proposed to promote a European law that prohibits the advertising of any company that operates in the fossil fuel market or make use of them.

This would include advertising for gasoline and diesel cars, boats or airplanes.

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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