- By Faarea Masud
- business reporter
Oil giant Shell has been banned from several ads for false claims about how clean their overall energy production is.
The ban applies to one TV ad, one poster shown in Bristol and one YouTube ad, all of which are shown in 2022.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that they all omitted information about Shell’s more polluting work with fossil fuels.
Shell said it “strongly” disagreed with the ASA’s findings.
The ads cannot be displayed again in their current form, the ASA ruled.
Shell has stated that the ads are intended to raise awareness about the lower-emissions energy products and services it is investing more money in.
The ASA has ruled that YouTube ads give the incorrect impression that low-carbon energy products make up a significant proportion of Shell’s energy products, when in fact they do not.
Shell says that people who have seen the ad will be well informed about the company’s operations and will primarily associate the brand with gasoline sales.
But the ASA said ad selections are likely to mislead consumers because they “misrepresent the contribution that lower-carbon initiatives have contributed or will contribute in the near future” compared to with the rest of the company’s operations.
One of the banned ads was a poster shown in Bristol, with the words “Bristol ready for cleaner energy”. It includes text citing the number of homes in the South West of England using renewable electricity. The ASA thinks the poster is misleading because it gives the impression that Shell is generally delivering cleaner energy.
“We also consider that the emphasis of the advertisement is ‘Ready’, which implies that lower-carbon energy products, like those shown in the advertisement, already include a billion significant proportion of energy products that Shell has invested in and sold in the UK, or is likely to do so in the near future,” the ASA said.
A Shell spokesman said the ASA decision “could slow the UK’s progress towards renewable energy”.
“No energy transition can be successful if people aren’t aware of the alternatives available to them. That’s what our ads are about and that’s why they’re there. I am concerned about this short-sighted decision,” the spokesperson added.