‘Powersliding a sports car through a rain-slick city at night might seem like an unrealistic activity that most car owners won’t participate in, but marketers count on the excitement generated by this imagery to influence consumer decisions. These marketers are seeking those consumers most driven by “a need for speed.”
These are called ‘Hedonistic Considerations’.
How often do we see a car that solely occupies space in an advert? It is a fantasy world that deceives not only the driver but demands that we all give way to that fantasy by prioritising traffic flow.
The anger at this disconnect between fantasy and reality materialises on the ground as projected ‘road rage’ onto the perceived or socially constructed ‘weakness’ of pedestrians and cyclists.
Nothing brings a driver crashing down to reality more than a pedestrian who walks faster or a cyclist who weaves ahead.
Another technique for selling cars is called ‘Utilitarian Considerations’. Focusing on prevention goals, the advertiser identifies a painful experience and then elicits feelings of safety and security. Their aim is to make the individual feel like they are a smart, responsible consumer.
‘Other types of car commercials might showcase families taking advantage of safety features, like anti-lock breaks, rear-view cameras, and sensors that alert them when other cars come too close.’
The alternative reality to ‘safety’ ‘smart’ and ‘responsible’?
Inactivity has been linked to diabetes type 2 and new analysis by Diabetes UK has revealed that the number of diabetes-related amputations in England has now reached an all-time high of 20 a day. Car drivers are much more likely to be inactive.
Are cars the new tobacco? asked a paper published in the Journal of Public Heath in June 2011:
‘Private cars cause significant health harm. The impacts include physical inactivity, obesity, death and injury from crashes, cardio-respiratory disease from air pollution, noise, community severance and climate change. The car lobby resists measures that would restrict car use, using tactics similar to the tobacco industry. Decisions about location and design of neighbourhoods have created environments that reinforce and reflect car dependence. Car ownership and use has greatly increased in recent decades and there is little public support for measures that would reduce this.’
So how would a car advertising and sponsorship ban work? Here, as an example, I have taken the Tobacco Advertising Directive and replaced tobacco and smoker with car and driver
The Tobacco Advertising Directive (2003/33/EC) has an EU wide ban on cross-border tobacco advertising and sponsorship in the media other than television. The ban covers print media, radio, internet and sponsorship of events involving several Member States, such as the Olympic games and Formula One races. Free distribution of tobacco is banned in such events. The ban covers advertising and sponsorship with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting a tobacco product.
The Car Advertising Directive (2017/102/EC) has an EU wide ban on cross-border car advertising and sponsorship in the media other than television. The ban covers print media, radio, internet and sponsorship of events involving several Member States, such as the Olympic games and Formula One races. Free distribution of car related products are banned in such events. The ban covers advertising and sponsorship with the aim or direct or indirect effect of promoting a car product.
This is an opener to further debate on campaigning for a cross border car advertising and sponsorship ban. Please feel free to comment here or on twitter. My handle is @Privatecarfree