Shell Caught Misleading the Public Again…
OTTAWA--Shell's disguised advertising campaign in Canada appears to be part of a global campaign to misinform the public and make tar sands operations appear squeaky clean and sustainable. A similar 2008 ad which ran in the United Kingdom resulted in a complaint by the World Wildlife Fund and was chastised by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
"Shell was caught misleading the public in the United Kingdom and agreed not to do it again, but barely a year later the company is trying it in Canada," said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada. "At least in the UK Shell didn't try to disguise its ad as news."
The UK decision read in part, "Because 'sustainable' was an ambiguous term, and because we had not seen data that showed how Shell was effectively managing carbon emissions from its oil sands projects in order to limit climate change, we concluded that on this point the ad was misleading. On this point the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 49.1 and 49.3 (Environmental claims).”1
As a result of the ASA investigation Shell agreed not to run the ad in its original form and assured the ASA that the ad was a one-off and would not be repeated.
In light of this information from the United Kingdom, Sierra Club Canada will be closely examining the content of Shell's "disguised advertising campaign" that has appeared over the last three weeks to identify misleading information or use of language that may mislead the public.
"Shell's actions make it clear, it holds the advertising codes of both Canada and the United Kingdom in contempt," said Mr. Bennett. "How does it view the Canadian public?"
Director of Media Relations
Sierra Club Canada
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