Too young to drive

They might be too young to talk or walk, but Renault thinks they’re the perfect age for a starring role in an advertising campaign.

Renault ads in France

Renault ads in France

In France, the Renault company has been putting up metro ads and posters showing babies named after their car models. The phrase on each ad reads: “C’est le Baby Boom. Chez Renault.”

It’s a bit challenging to figure out if these children truly are named for the Renault models, but stranger things have happened.

Apparently, the campaign, which ends Sept. 30, is one of the largest in France. And it seems that the advertising boost is crucial for the car manufacturer. One report says that Renault’s sales were down 60 percent last year. Renault is the fourth largest auto manufacturer in the world.

In America, car manufacturers also are facing a drop in sales. Most auto dealers who participated in the summer’s “Cash for Clunkers” program should be reimbursed by the end of September. The program was meant as a boost to the slumping auto industry.

France also has a “Cash for Clunkers” program that was recently extended into 2010. French officials say the program took 330,000 “clunkers” off the roads. No numbers yet on how many new cars Renault’s ad campaign has sold.

Maybe we Americans needed a clever ad campaign instead of a bailout.