ISBA slams car ad 'health warnings'

The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) this week warned of a serious threat to car marketers following the Belgian government's decision to force vehicle manufacturers to carry health warnings on their advertising.

As of last month, car ads in Belgium are required by law to include tobacco-style health warnings, which must state that the motorist is responsible for safe driving. The initiative is part of a bid by the Belgian government to reduce the number of deaths caused by motoring accidents. Agencies and car makers that do not comply face hefty fines.

The European Commission is understood to be studying the Belgian experiment.

While there are no explicit plans to introduce such a provision to other European Union member states, ISBA is concerned that the idea could gain momentum.

"Europe tends to monitor this sort of experiment carefully, so it represents a serious threat to the freedom of UK car marketers,

said ISBA director of public affairs Ian Twinn.

ISBA is concerned that the introduction of 'health warnings' would infringe the freedom of marketers and do little to reduce the number of motoring accidents. It has urged European legislators to follow the UK model of 'positive-message' advertising, such as the Think! road safety campaign.

ISBA has informed the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders of the Belgian law, and said it would watch developments.

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