Plans to introduce tough new regulations on car advertising could force the industry’s biggest players to stop advertising altogether, according to Kia UK managing director Paul Philpott. The automotive sector spent more than £550m on advertising last year (Nielsen Media Research).
The Tories and the Liberal Democrats, as well as the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, are calling for tobacco-style safety warnings to be introduced on car ads as part of the fight against climate change.
Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies wants 20% of advertising space to be used to highlight carbon dioxide (CO2) emission levels (MW last week) but the industry has reacted angrily to the proposals.
Philpott, who joined Kia at the start of the year from Toyota GB, where he was commercial director, says: “I fear what’s going to happen if there are too many regulations. Car companies will stop advertising and find other ways of doing things. Advertising is there to increase the desirability of your product. Sticking government health warnings on car ads will lead us to find alternative ways of getting to our consumers.”
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) had earlier called the plans an “absolute nonsense”.
Advertising Association director of public affairs Sue Eustace adds: “These proposed new rules have all sorts of implications. It raises questions about what the incentive is to advertise and why car companies should advertise at all.”