Mike Waters' Blog: 10 September 2008 - Greener ad content
10 September 2008
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.
With the barrage of adverts that bombard us every single day it can be tough to see the wood from the trees. The car market has pockets as deep as any sector when it comes to marketing but tighter regulation will mean that more information has to be included in car adverts, and in particular, green information to help us make more informed purchasing decisions.
Going forwards, all magazine and billboard adverts will have to give real and readable facts about the car's fuel economy and environmental impact allowing us as customers to make greener and cheaper vehicle choices.
The Department for Transport recently admitted that it had been wrongly interpreting an EU directive on car advertising, which says that fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions information must be prominently included in all promotional literature. The Government had been sparing 'primarily graphical' adverts from the law so most billboard adverts did not previously need to include a cars carbon dioxide emissions.
In the past the majority of ads have focused on the worst polluting cars but with drivers looking for more efficient options things are already changing. The European Commission is championing a single and consistent design for car labelling and the King Review also called for more regulation on car advertising so marketers must be hearing the green message loud and clear from all sides.
Under the Department for Transport's new rules all promotional materials, including posters and all print adverts, must include CO2 emissions information. The big benefit is choice, in the same way that food and even cigarette labelling works we are still welcome to purchase the 'bad' option but at least we have a consistent set of facts to help us make the decision.
While all this is happening new research from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership shows that while overall spend is still biased towards the highest polluting vehicles the motor industry doubled its spending on advertising its greenest cars in 2007.
The survey shows that advertising spend on the most fuel-efficient vehicles (those in Vehicle Excise Duty bands A, B and C) jumped from 20% to 40%. And with 52% of industry advertising spend going on smaller cars it seems that the focus is shifting.
So the combination of these factors provide a good first step for consumers. We still don't know how much carbon is produced in the manufacture of the vehicles and I suspect that many drivers probably don't care as their focus is cost rather than the environment but whatever the motivation it's a positive move for both.