Advertising agencies are withdrawing from oil and gas in the echo of the cigarette exodus
Dozens of other mostly small advertising agencies have signed the same pledge put together by advocacy group Fossil Free Media. The initiative known as Clean Creatives is led by Duncan Meisel, an environmental activist who admitted it would be difficult for advertising agencies to say no to dollars on fossil fuels during a pandemic.
“The advertising industry is currently not that healthy,” said Meisel. “People are used to having these customers and it’s hard to say no to a paycheck.”
Environmental activists aren’t the only ones putting pressure on the advertisers. Amsterdam voted in December to investigate how to block oil and gas advertisements on its streets. Further calls have emerged in Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, France, Belgium, Finland and elsewhere to ban such advertisements, add climate warnings, or prevent fossil fuel companies from sponsoring sports teams.
Democratic officials have filed lawsuits in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Washington, DC, and Hoboken, New Jersey for the past 18 months, accusing Exxon, the American Petroleum Institute trading group, and others in the industry of misrepresenting climate change. also through their advertisements.
Several publications have restricted or stopped accepting fossil fuel ads, including the British Medical Journal, The Guardian, and the Swedish publications Dagens Nyheter and Dagens ETC. The New York Times said in a statement that it had not allowed oil and gas companies to sponsor their climate newsletter, climate summit or podcast, The Daily. It still publishes paid reviews from companies like Exxon. In a statement by The Times, the Times said that “advertising helps support our newsroom, which covers the issue and impact of climate change more than any other in the US.”
Hillary Moglen, a director at Rally, a Los Angeles communications company that has avoided working with oil and gas companies, said a shift was underway. “It’s an old guard, a new guard situation,” she said. “There will come a point where it is culturally unacceptable to work with these customers.”