World Streets is by no means an anti-car paper. However if you follow us you may have noticed that we have some pretty developed ideas as to fewer cars, slower cars, and, when we have them on the road, with more people in each of them. But above all, more choices for all. At the same time we keep an eye on friends like NoAuto in Italy, who are pushing for tighter controls on automobile advertisements. (And who in their right mind can argue with that?)
The following text represents a loose translation of the introduction to an article which appeared in our sister publication, Nuova Mobilità – http://nuovamobilita.org – on Tuesday. After this short introduction you will be able to click to the original posting in Italian or to a machine translation in English.
Over the years we have become accustomed to seeing television and other public advertisements showing cars in situations that are at least improbable, often dangerous, and certainly not appropriate for a sane and responsible society.
But can advertising policy and practices be redefined so as not to be misleading and frankly dangerous?
Yes it can. There are already limitations on advertising for other unsafe products such as cigarettes, dictated by the importance of protecting public health. Why not introduce similar limitations for publicity for cars?
Certainly when it comes to talking publicly and commercially about what is perceived as the most “common” means of transport, at least in the minds of many people in the Western world, we will do well to learn some of the lessons from the various campaign around the world which over the last decade have created significant constraints on advertising for (and public use of) cigarettes and other noxious tobacco products.
The benefits resulting in a decrease in cigarette consumption are widely recognized and now after years of work on the part of medical and public health interests accepted –while those arising from a change of travel behavior are in the collective imagination, at least thus far, counterbalanced by an alleged decline in the quality of life. This of course is sheer nonsense.
For this reason the non-profit Italian public interest group NoAuto, Association for Alternative Urban Mobility, is announcing a campaign to introduce specific limits on car advertising . It is hope that this could at the same time to boost publicity and reflection on more responsible products, services and strategies relating to the field of New Mobility.
The following is the statement of NoAuto’s call for creation of a firm public policy concerning responsible advertising of cars.
* For the original Italian text, please click to http://nuovamobilita.blogspot.com/2009/11/lauto-come-le-sigarette.html
* For a quick machine translation into English – http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fnuovamobilita.blogspot.com%2F2009%2F11%2Flauto-come-le-sigarette.html&sl=it&tl=en&history_state0=
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NoAuto is an Italian public interest association promoting a system of mobility alternatives to the car: MORE public transport, safety for walking and cycling, decreased congestion and pollution, reconquest of urban space, healthier lives, are among the objectives. Their weekly paper hosts a regular feature of the association.