The oil industry of Shell U.K. ad drive was restricted for deceiving clients

June 8, 2023: Britain’s advertising regulator has rejected an ad drive promoting the green industries of Shell, conveying that the marketing of the oil giant’s lower emissions energy products was likely deceiving to the consumers.

The prohibition concerns a poster seen in Bristol in southwest England, a T.V. ad, and a video posted on the Shell YouTube channel. All published in 2022, the ads sought to raise awareness of the range of Shell’s energy products under a campaign tagline of “The U.K. is ready for cleaner energy.”

“From electric vehicle charging to renewable electricity for your home, Shell is giving customers more low-carbon choices and helping drive the U.K.’s energy transition,” the company says in one of the ads.

The Advertising Standards Authority said Tuesday that, following an investigation, it had concluded that the ad campaign may lead people to overestimate the firm’s investment in clean energy. The ASA said more information was necessary to fully capture that most of Shell’s business is based on environmentally damaging fossil fuels.

Shell, which targets net-zero emissions by 2050, said it was tensed by what it characterized as a “short-sighted” decision.

“We strongly disagree with the ASA’s decision, which could slow the U.K.’s drive towards renewable energy,” a company spokesperson said.

“People are already well aware that Shell produces the oil and gas they depend on today,” they said. “But what many people don’t know is we’re also investing heavily in low- and zero-carbon energy, including building one of the U.K.’s largest public networks of E.V. charge points.”

The ASA ruling noted that Shell believed the ads “accurately represented” the range of lower emissions energy products and services it offers and that any mention of the firm’s high-carbon products would have been “counterproductive.”

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