The Push for Ad Agencies to Put Big Clients in the Oil


Here is one absolutely true statement: Between 2015 and 2019, oil and gas companies doubled the share of their capital spending to go to innovative and carbon-derived technologies. Here’s the chase: That’s what counts less than 1 percent of total oil capital investment, according to the International Energy Agency; 99 percent still that of oil and gas.

The added context paints a very different picture of investment by fossil fuel companies in green energy. Now, like the diversity of state and local courts continued suit against Big Oil for misleading the public in its role in climate change, a new coalition has emerged between PR and ad agencies responsible for corporate messaging.

Duncan Meisel is the director of Clean Creatives, a coalition of people in the ad, PR, and marketing industries. refusal of contracts with fossil fuel companies. Meisel said the idea for the pledge came after years of working on communications for environmental nonprofits, where progressive messaging campaigns have often been opposed by points made by the oil industry from funded funds. company PR.

“Individuals within the creative industry have the power to communicate with their leadership, the organizations that are with them, and stop them from promoting the companies that are most responsible for climate change,” Meisel said. So far, more than 300 individual workers and 120 agencies have signed the pledge.

“Shell could come to us with a $ 1 million contract, and we’re walking from there,” said Roger Ramirez, chief development officer at New York-based ad agency Mustache, who signed the pledge earlier year. This is not a quick decision, according to Ramirez, because the reality is that the business was not built to sustain the rejection of potential big events.

With nearly 60 people, Mustache is a midsize agency owned by Cognizant, a multinational parent company that works with fossil fuel companies. In the past, Mustache has also taken out some of these contracts, making the pledge even more sudden. “That’s an obstacle for us for sure, and it takes a lot of conversation,” Ramirez said.

The Mustache team ultimately excels by connecting the Clean Creative commitment with its own prior commitments to diversity and racial justice and saying that racial justice must include environmental justice and sustainability.

Adam Lerman, co -founder of Mustache’s creation and sustainability manager, said most ad agencies are equally organized, meaning that sustainability trends – no matter how big or small – mean convincing ones. Lerman suggests starting the conversation by emphasizing how leadership goals align with the cause, even if they don’t know it.

“If you know that interest and provide legitimate, verifiable evidence that says,‘ Hey, this thing we think is connected to this thing, and we’re hypocrites if we do A and B. at the same time, ‘maybe that’s a way to get in.”

Since 2017, many state and local governments have been embroiled in an ongoing legal battle with oil and gas companies, accusing them of misleading the public on the role of fossil fuels in climate change. While no ad agencies have named defendants, the complaints name 15 campaigns as misleading, means that the agencies conducting the campaigns may drag on the case.

In August, the American Association of Advertising Agencies issued instruction to greenwashing prevention agencies, pointing to the Federal Trade Commission’s standard of having “reliable evidence” to support environmental claims. Alison Pepper, executive vice president of the government-related group, said there is a “gap” between the FTC’s rules on “reliable evidence” to support a claim and consumer expectations. He said the group urged the FTC to further elaborate on its laws on environmental claims to reduce greenwashing.

Fossil fuel companies spent $ 9.6 million in 2020 in Facebook ads that presented oil and gas as “climate friendly,” according to a report released earlier this month by UK -based think tank InfluenceMap. In one such ad, Shell targeted the “net-zero emissions” target with the hashtag #MaketheFuture. At the same time, it is told investors that “operating plans and budgets do not reflect Shell’s Net-Zero Emissions target.”





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