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Woman calls out 'strange' Shell video ads using tobacco marketing techniques: 'So dystopian'

"That is why Shell is being sued all over the world for this exact type of misleading advertising."

"That is why Shell is being sued all over the world for this exact type of misleading advertising."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Most consumers have seen the health warnings on cigarette cartons — and this type of honest advertising is no accident. It's the law

And now, with more research warning about the dangers of big oil, many people are pushing for similar restrictions on the dirty energy industry's marketing.

TikToker Gigi C (@earthlygigi) posted a video showing "strange" ads from big oil brand Shell. She explains that this ad campaign strategically employs influencers using an emotional approach, at one point showing Aussie celebrity Grant Denyer visiting Shell with his daughter.

@earthlygigi Tobacco advertising was banned because cigarettes are killing us 🚬 Now fossil fuel advertising needs to be banned for the same reason ⛽️🚫 Shell is running giveaway competitions with big Aussie names on social media to make their fuel look 'cool'. The Fossil Ad Ban campaign found just 10 of these influencers have a collective following of over 1.15 million people. We want to make this type of advertising illegal. #fossilfuels#climateaction#renewableenergy#fossiladban#aussieinfluencer#influencersofinstagram#greenwashing#shellpetrol#shellaustralia ♬ original sound - Gigi C

"Shell is spending a lot of money making their fuel look fashionable and family-friendly," Gigi explains. "On [the PR agency's] website, they say they're trying to give millennials a way to connect emotionally with Shell so that we forget our prejudices about big oil."

"And it's working," she says.

Shell alone is responsible for nearly 1.6% of the global carbon pollution budgeted to limit overheating of the planet by 2030, according to ClientEarth, producing about the equivalent of a walloping 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2020 alone. 

And despite the company's claims about working toward reduced emissions and investing in renewable energy, as the Guardian notes, Shell actually intends to expand its dirty fuel business by 20%, highlighting the importance of recognizing greenwashing

According to Gigi, Shell's PR firm found that the emotionally focused campaigns are "making audiences 31% more likely to believe that Shell is committed to cleaner fuels, which they're not." 

"That is why Shell is being sued all over the world for this exact type of misleading advertising," Gigi says. 

Indeed, several cities, states, and countries have sued or sanctioned Shell and other big oil brands for deliberately misleading consumers, touting environmental policies that turn out to be little more than a marketing ploy

In addition to the lawsuits, some institutions, like banking giant HSBC, are divesting from new oil fields in an attempt to reduce the growth of big oil.

Commenters were disgusted by the misleading advertising tactics. 

"Wouldn't it be more effective to actually commit to cleaner fuels/power and make money in the process?" one person wondered. 

"[It's] so dystopian," another agreed.

"I [already] have an emotional connection with Shell," one person said grimly. "The emotions are anger, hatred, contempt, and disgust."

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