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Digital ads: French MPs claim ‘right to pee in peace’

A group of French MPs have demanded the right to “go to the toilet in peace”, and hit out against intrusive digital advertising, after one MP objected to advertising screens in the toilet of a Paris café.

This week (Wednesday November 6), several MPs proposed a bill that would give them the right to “urinate in peace”, and that would ban digital advertising from bathrooms in public spaces. These included the MPs Clémentine Autain, Mathilde Panot, and Philippe Gosselin.

The proposal text states: “In the bathroom of this Paris café, I was in the middle of going to the toilet, when, surprise, shock...20 centimetres from my eyes, just above the urinal, a screen makes itself known. Impossible to ignore this advertising.

“How can we escape this luminous, moving, colourful message, which is placed above each urinal, on every door? Difficult to escape, unless you close your eyes, and risk a liquid accident…

“Even here, even here, advertising takes up our available brain time! They follow us into the toilets!...Who does not appreciate this rare moment of peace, when [going to the toilet]?”

The bill’s message is to fight against “the invasion of screens into daily life”. It continued: “We have to boot advertising out of the bathroom!”.

It is demanding a change to the public health code, so that it would also include the phrase: “Digital advertising is banned in toilets [sanitary facilities] in establishments that are open to the public and in areas of work.”

The proposal states that budgets in France for “DOOH” advertising - an acronym meaning “digital out-of-home”, or any screen that is not in people’s own homes - have doubled in the past three years.

The bill will now be sent to the commission for social affairs to be evaluated.

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