For several years now, the French government and the Citizens' Climate Convention have had the ambition to take tangible measures in favour of the environment. The result of this ambition is the Climate and Resilience Act. One of its objectives is to considerably reduce the number of unsolicited advertising leaflets. This reform will have an impact on the marketing sector. How will advertisers have to rework their online advertising strategy to compensate the impact it will have?
What is the Climate and Resilience Law?
In France, a number of measures have been put in place to accelerate the ecological transition. These measures have a significant impact in the marketing sector, and specifically in advertising. So, what do these measures entail?
The Climate and Resilience Act
Established in 2019, the Citizens' Climate Convention aims to integrate ecology throughout French society. It is made up of citizens chosen at random to define measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020, this convention submitted approximately one hundred proposals. These include the Climate and Resilience Act. The aim is to tackle climate change by reducing waste and pollution.
The law was unanimously approved by the French government. On 24 August 2021, it was enacted and published in the Official Journal. So what will it actually change ? First of all, it should be noted that all sectors are affected. For example, schools will be obliged to offer vegetarian menus in the canteen and restaurant owners will be prohibited from heating their terraces. A large number of professionals will therefore have to adapt to all these changes. More importantly Advertisers and advertising agencies will not be spared by this new law ! On top of this, other laws will be added to complement the climate and resilience act.
The anti-waste law
Another environmental measure has also been adopted : the anti-waste law (AGEC). Enacted on 10 February 2020, it advocates a circular economy in order to drastically reduce waste. As of 2022, new measures will come into force such as a ban on the destruction of unsold non-food goods and the reinforce communication around recycling.
But that is not all. This law also puts pressure on plastic and especially the paper industry. From 2023, all leaflets and catalogues must be printed on 100% recycled paper or on paper from sustainable forests. Finally, the Climate and Resilience Act supports the anti-waste law with the Oui pub scheme. A question then arises: how will the advertising sector adapt ?
Oui Pub: what impact for advertisers?
On its website, the French Ministry of Ecological Transition reports: "According to the Ademe survey: in 2019, more than 894,000 tonnes of unaddressed print advertising were distributed, a significant proportion of which was thrown away without being read...". Because of this alarming report, the Climate Law is planning to experiment with the Oui pub system.
This scheme aims to prohibit the distribution of unaddressed advertising material. Also known as unaddressed printed matter, these advertisements do not include the name or address of the recipients. This means that they do not target prospects accurately, which explains the huge lack of interest among consumers.
Following a call for applications, 15 volunteer local authorities will try the Oui pub experiment for 3 years, including Grenoble Alpes Métropole, the SMICTOM du Pays de Fougères and the city of Bordeaux. This represents almost 2.5 million.
In fact France is not the only country to try the experiment. In Germany, the system is a little different. A No ads sticker (already in existence in France since2004), the opposite of Oui pub, is used to indicate that one does not wish to receive ads in their letterboxes. It will then be forbidden to leave advertising in their letterboxes with this indication. In the Netherlands, both are used. It all depends on the city!
In France, several benefits are expected from this scheme. Firstly, citizens will only receive advertisements that they want. If they want to continue to receive these leaflets, they will have to mark their letterboxes with the words "Ouipub". In addition, local authorities are expected to save on waste collection and processing.
Oui pub will be assessed using four indicators:
- environmental ;
- economic ;
- behavioural ;
- understanding, buy-in and satisfaction.
At the end of the 3 years, the government will decide whether to extend this measure to the rest of France. Advertisers who are not yet affected should therefore anticipate this new trend.
How can agencies and advertisers continue to communicate locally with online advertising?
In addition to the environmental effort, the communication channels must also evolve. But how can we keep up advertising ? The time has come to go digital! There are several advertising formats with a local approach to create a new relationship with customers.
Facebook, the number one social network
In terms of local marketing, Facebook is an extremely powerful tool. Thanks to its various features, it allows you to precisely target people according to their age, gender, but also their habits.
- Collection Ads can display up to 50 products on a single ad and are triggered on interested individuals’ newsfeeds.
- Facebook Ads Manager allows you to create targeted and geo-located ads through the "point of sale traffic" with the objective to boost brick-and-mortar store visits.
- Dynamic advertisements (digital catalogues) are distributed to a specific target group.
In addition to being effective, location-based advertising on Facebook is relatively cheap. An additional reason to ditch the flyers! Companies specialising in local marketing provide this type of service for advertisers.
Google Ads, the advertising network of the leading search engine in France
In an age of digitalisation, it makes sense to advertise on search engines, especially Google, as it is the most used in France. But why is it necessary ?
Google Ads allows you to create local digital campaigns to attract customers to a site and boost traffic at the point of sale based on a keyword. It is an effective tool to strengthen your online presence.
Also, with the Google My Business feature, listing a business is a breeze. It consists of a listing with the address, a link to the website, photos and customer reviews of the company. This insert is displayed on the first page of the search engine. It is therefore important to take good care of it, as it will act as a showcase for your business.
It is often forgotten, but GPS (Waze, Tomtom, Maps...) are also part of a successful local acquisition strategy. The reason is very simple : they allow you tobe present on another channel and to target drivers or pedestrians in the vicinity of your store.
They shouldn’t be excluded under any circumstances. But that's not all : it's also possible to run location-based ads! Specialised technologies help advertisers to reference these locations to boost physical visits, but also to configure all local campaigns.
Other social networks
Like Facebook, Instagram allows you to set up campaigns according to precise targeting criteria : demographic data (age, gender), location, hobbies, etc. With approximately 22 million monthly users it is crucial to make the most of this social network.
As far as LinkedIn is concerned, it gathers over 11 million active professionals every month. In addition to the classic targeting options, it also takes into account much more precise criteria such as the type of company. A huge opportunity for B2B !
In addition, Snapchat is interesting if the target is 15-25 year olds. Its advantage : it offers the possibility of creating a geo-localised filter (name of the brand, graphic elements, etc.). This filter is activated when an individualis near the location. They can then use the filter on a photo or video and share it. An original way to be discovered !
Finally, it is also possible with the TikTok app to create ads targeting a particular audience: age, location, gender... However, it should be noted that the average age range of users is between 10 and 19 years old.
How can agencies convince advertisers to develop online advertising?
Is digital a good alternative to paper ? This is a highly debated topic. Digital technology generates 4% of greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, large file formats such as videos or emails are a major source of pollution. So why take up this route ?
Advertising at a local level considerably reduces this type pollution. According to a study by Greenflex in 2021, the digital alternative would emit 45 times less greenhouse gases than a leaflet. The reason ? The audience is accurately targeted, which means you can advertise less for the same impact.
Another argument is that digital advertising is less expensive. Indeed, the fact that prospects are precisely targeted contributes to the optimisation of the ROI and significantly reduces the bill. It should also be taken into account that the price of paper will increase by 30 to 40%. You might as well switch to a more affordable solution!
Digital advertising formats are also more flexible. They can be easily modified and adapted. Moreover, thanks to the tools available, it is possible to monitor the performance of each campaign and to adjust them on the fly thanks to numerous indicators:
- demographics ;
- budget allocated ;
- location ;
- cost per click ;
This task is difficult to achieve with leaflets.
Finally, a significant number of French consumers want retailers to go 100% digital. Leaflets are no longer popular! The 0-waste trend is gradually taking over households. Demonstrating your desire to reduce your environmental footprint is therefore a good way to improve your brand image and strengthen your relationship with customers.
In short, at a time when the environment is at the heart of the debate and the populationis becoming increasingly digital, it is time to go online and reinvent ourselves! The Climate and Resilience Act is accelerating this trend. In the medium term, leaflets are likely to disappear. Fortunately, sustainable solutions adapted to each business exist to make a successful digital transition and maintain a solid relationship with customers through online advertising.