Why Shell’s Marketing is so Disgusting

Why Shell’s Marketing is so Disgusting


Shell has a new campaign on YouTube. It’s called “The Great Travel Hack” featuring Kaley Couco, star of The Big Bang Theory as well as some influencers. The premise is simple: “Two teams compete in a road trip across the USA where the lowest CO2 emissions wins. During that roadtrip they “discover new and cleaner forms of transport”, to show how emissions can be reduced in the face of global warming. The whole thing is way too cringy That is the future of clean energy – definitely I mean we are not waiting for the future, we are pretty much living in it right now, you know what I am saying? But that’s not the point. The point is, that this campaign might just be one of the biggest instances of greenwashing we have ever come across. It’s not just misleading, it’s outright disgusting. Here’s why. Before we get into the great travel hack, let’s take a closer look at Shell. Just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions in the last 30ish years. All of these companies are fossil-fuel producers. Their emissions are partly direct, but mostly indirect. Of these companies, Shell makes the top 10. They are single-handedly responsible for 1,7% of all greenhouse gas emissions by human activity since 1988. That might not sound like a lot at first, but keep in mind – this is only one company. Shell is also one of the biggest oil companies world-wide, in fact they came in second in terms of revenue last year. Shell was in possession of a detailed internal report on the greenhouse effect in 1988. The report also mentioned how the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for said effect. In 1991 Shell actually produced a documentary called “Climate of Concern” It explained how global warming could lead to rising sea levels, terrible famines, climate refugees and so on and so forth. Even in hindsight they had surprisingly accurate data. The company had known for years what was about to come. Despite all this foresight, Shell has been lobbying against global warming since the early 90s. Shell was part of the “Global Climate Coalition” until 1998. The organisation lobbied against the scientific consensus on climate change and tried to stop governmental action. The Legislative Exchange Council also
lobbies hard against climate action Shell was a member until 2015. The company only quit the “American Petroleum Institute” this year and is still part of the “Business Roundtable” – both fought Obama’s Plans for cleaner energy. But the company has since switched strategy. Amongst oil companies, Shell is embracing renewable and cleaner energies more than others. In fact Shell is trying to position itself as an authority on climate change, presenting strategic insights like the “sky scenario”. Yet, that is just the surface. Lobbying efforts to stop or slow down substantial action are now happening behind the scenes. While publicly embracing electric mobility, Shell is part of “FuelsEurope”. Just last year the association has lobbied against the promotion of electric vehicles in the EU. Similarly, Shell has also lobbied for “natural gas” in the EU and the US. It is being sold as a “bridge” in the energy transition. It emits 50% less carbon dioxide than coal when being burned. Great, but since it’s mostly made of methane there is another risk. When unburned methane escapes into the air, say through a leak of some sort – it is 70x as damaging as carbon dioxide. If only 3% of all produced methane escapes during production – you might as well burn coal. Renewable energies are getting cheaper and cheaper – making the gas less and less attractive from a cost perspective as well. Natural gas is not the “bridge” Shell makes it out to be. One number is perhaps most striking. In 2019 only 4-8% of Shell’s new investments are going into energy sources that are even remotely green – that’s including natural gas. Let’s just keep all this in mind and take a look at the great travel hack.
“What are you waiting for, lets go” Let’s recall the premise: travel across the US, keep your emissions as low as possible. Perfect to show loads of new, fun ways to travel cleaner. They got electric cars, fuel cell cars, electric boats, electric bikes, very, very briefly a bus, a maglev train, MORE electric cars, a petrol powered train, a gas buggy, electric skateboards, horses, even more electric cars, electric motorcycles, yet even more electric cars, an electric unicycle, an electric riding plattform, dog sleds, a sailboat and a regular skateboard. Leaving all the rather ridiculous modes of transport aside, close to half of the entire runtime of the show is spent on cars. We checked the emissions of 9 out of 10 of the showcased models. Accounting for two passengers, you get the lowest possible emissions using the Hyundai Ioniq. On 3000 miles, or roughly 4800 km, the emissions amount to 0.27 tons. Divided by 2 you get 0.135 tons. What Shell fails to showcase during their oh-so-fun-road-trip is a coach. Not even an electrical one, even a regular one would do. On 3000 miles the emissions per passenger are only 0.13 tons. Trains are usually not electric in the US, but they are in Europe. Electric trains also easily manage to even beat the smallest and newest electric cars with two passengers. And in fact, most people drive their car alone. The cleanest way to travel depends on the energy grid and context. Another thing people tend to forget is that new electric cars also have to be manufactured in the first place. Accounting for those emissions on top, they are simply not the most attractive in terms of one’s carbon footprint. The reality is, that the way energy is generated needs to change drastically. The same goes for the transport infrastructure. E-mobility alone just won’t do all that much. A multi-million dollar campaign designed to position Shell as a climate-concerned, innovative company fails to touch upon any of these issues. Using a major TV-Star, some influencers, horrible scripts, and shiny electric cars – that’s not how climate change is tackled. Just last year, Shell was responsible for the emission of close to 700 million tons of carbon dioxide. In fact their emissions even rose from 2017 to 2018. Shell is not green. They won’t be anytime soon. Even in 2019 they pretend to act, rather than to actually transform their business. But let’s end it with the companies own words from 1991. Action now – is seen as the only safe insurance. But
what should that action be? Hey, we really hope you enjoyed this video. If you did, consider subscribing to our channel. We have a lot more content to come. What are your thoughts on this topic? Let us know in the comments 🙂 If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our video on how Made in Germany became a Seal of Quality. It’s a fascinating story. Until then, see you next time.

100 COMMENTS

    First time I, someone from the US, has every heard of 'Greenwashing.' I will now keep my eyes peeled for this kind of bs. Thanks for the great video! Subbed 🙂

    Wow, really now? A gasoline company's trying to use greenwashing while lobbying against green energies? That's just so dumb… Besides, why would anyone try to make natural gas look like the bridge between fossil fuels and green energies when it's clearly nuclear fission, which keeps getting bad rep despite being the better compromise because accidents happen…
    Watching from France. I didn't know about this channel, but I'll check it out.

    very interesting video! I'd be curious as to what Shell has to say in response! Sorry Shell but I'm gonna fuel my car up with someone else's black gunk that makes my car go vrrrooom! and maybe buy a segway.

    Wow! A truely honest video by someone that actually can see the bigger picture. Just rushing out to buy an EV might not make your footprint smaller, if your usage pattern or cleanness of your grid is not taken into account. Please force Tesla owners to watch this!

    Imagine if we build only Tower cities connected to maglev Trains worldwide! That would really destroy capitalism, because of the top 10 corporations, 8 have to do with CARS! And only T&T will save the EARTH!

    I'm gonna dislike real hard this video because you accuse Shell of using wrong statistics and bad views. Yet you and this video don't into account the whole aspect aswell. This video is wrong in so many ways. Shame on you.

    Natural gas isn't a bridge, nuclear would be, but we're shutting down three mile island replacing it with natural gas.

    WOW. Thank you so making this. I was subscribed to Damon and Jo for a longggggg time but when they posted they were part of this I instantly unsubbed 👎

    I think if you care about the environment you should buy oil and gas companies stocks and add your opinions to the board and share holders.

    This is the only way to really influence those companies.

    Electric cars can really help the environment once the electricity used to run them comes from renewable and clean sources. The difficulty is in convincing those in charge to actually replace the current dirty infrastructure with better ways of producing energy. We have the ability to make enough energy from sources like nuclear, solar, and wind power, there just has to be enough motivation to actually switch to those sources.

    "lowest co2 emissions win"
    How do you beat walking?

    Edit: any human powered system of transport is pretty efficient, biking beats walking

    This is like those old commercials where tobacco companies said tobacco is healthy to smoke. A lot of gullible people will believe it.

    I've always wanted to get a car but honestly, with the rising climate change movement and eye-opening videos like this one on how corrupt car/gas companies are, I don't think I'll ever own a car. I'm sticking with public transportation for the foreseeable future and I encourage everyone else to do the same (if it's possible where you live – obviously people in rural areas don't usually have access to public transportation)

    This video is good for targetting an audience who did not know completely about Shell's activities. But, you're missing the bigger picture. You point out at 1:15 that China's coal industry is the largest creator of greenhouse gases. The coal is used, directly and indirectly, to manufacture our products for ourselves and our allies. The government should be forcing China to lower their coal usage through trade tariffs; we should be encouraging our allies to do the same.

    This year the CEO of Shell was quoted on Dutch business radio (BNR), that his bonus will be tightly tied to environmental factors to make the company "more green"..
    In Dutch Shell stations they now hand out leaflets that people can "compensate" the Co2 that they create by using their fuel, by paying a little extra, which will be used to plant trees etc.
    So in reality this means that people pay a little extra so that the CEO gets his bonus. He doesn't really care about the co2 compensation, as otherwise he'd himself plant a lot more trees. He should be able to afford this, as his compensation for 2018 was 20.1 million Euro, which means he made 2292 Euro an hour (before taxes).

    I personally find it ridiculous that historical big fossil fuel companies are now claiming to have the greenest fossil fuel products on the planet just to get on board the green hype train, with tactics such as spinning off fossil fuel products into a different company name (probably administered by a close friend) and starting selling solar panels, wind turbines and charging stations under the old well known name!
    I guess they realized now's the time to start sweeping the dirt to under the rug when we all know that fossil fuels will still be needed for the foreseeable future in airplanes, ships, heavy-duty equipment in industry etc!!

    Nice to See that interesting short documentary. Bad Shell Company. The onliest view of that concerns, are only the money. Nothing else!

    excellent video, i'm guessing from these comments your other videos are german?? i hope you get the recognition you deserve!

    Hemp oil can be turned into an eco friendly fuel for cars yet we still use oil because they love money. In Canada, hey actually made a plane out of plane, such as it’s exterior and its fuel.

    They can't go green. Its like apple would join android. Like they can. But then they defeating their own company. Shell is a company that extracts oil, gas and all other Dinosaurs stuff. Going green is like shooting yourself not in the leg, but directly in head.

    This entire video is to present shell in a bad light and even contract itself.

    First the argument is shell is bad because it is part of a lobbying group against electric cars.

    Later shell is bad since the promotion involves electric cars. That are so obviously not a good solution to the clinate problems.

    So shell against electric cars = bad
    And shell for electric cars = bad

    Double standard?

    The only thing why i use shell is because of their branding, making it seems that their gas is higher quality

    It's like someone hit a pinata full of boomers that have no idea how to market to millenials and then they all went and made that video.

    this video is great. i am dutch and i just feel disgust that shell is a company of my country. its horrible that they show climate change as a easy to solve problem, or a ''not so big problem so we keep doing what we are doing'' problem. its not about money or power now, its about the lives of millions, even trillions, species. even us. its not a political thing and its about our lives (i personnally think otherways, of first saving oder species and then ourselves). if we want to live in the (near) future we have to step aside of money, power, lying and all the oter f*ckedup sh*t we are doing.

    Thank you SO much for this. Please let this hit trending and let more onow about big oil and theit attempts at decieving the public.

    It's like Disney being woke in their recent movies without acknowledging their past.

    Obviously not driving in the first place would be the most efficient, but electric cars are the least bad option for people who still need a car.

    Soooo… how about the morality of accepting any kind of role in this campaign (as an actor/actress/influencer)?

    you know that greenwashing is mostly caused by propaganda for climate change acts?
    when shell was just worried about being a company they seemed much more concerned about the environment then they are now, now they just pretend to be.

    Why do these companies go to such big lengths with their advertising campaigns? Do they seriously not realize that no one gives a shit? In the case of Shell, I literally only care what price the gas is at the moment I need to get gas and if the Shell gas station is nearby. They honestly don't even need to advertise.

    Che tremenduki video, casi tan bueno como bokita (el mas grande papa). Bien piolita esta y toda la información esta presentada de manera bastante cheta asi que se entiende todo. Re atr

    3:45 This is a lie. Renewable energy is not cheaper, we all thought so and still do yet every single country that attempts increasing renewables also increase energy costs.

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