"Ad Agencies Step Away From Oil and Gas in Echo of Cigarette Exodus"

"A queasiness has set in among some people who have made ads promoting fossil fuels. One executive likened the shift to the ad industry’s move away from tobacco."

"It’s night. A little boy opens the door to his father’s room. “Dad, I’m scared,” he says. The father carries the boy back to his bed, tucks him in and clicks on a night light. “It’s only human to care for those we love,” says an offscreen voice, “and also help light their way.”

This is the start of a recent commercial for Chevron, which goes on to say that the company is bringing “affordable, reliable, ever-cleaner energy to America.” It is the kind of feel-good ad that has long drawn criticism from environmentalists, who argue that such messaging, which they call greenwashing, may mislead viewers about the extent of their climate change commitments. Weeks after the commercial was posted on YouTube, where it has racked up more than 200,000 views, a Chevron refinery in California leaked some 600 gallons of “petroleum and water mixture” into the San Francisco Bay.

Because of this ad and others like it, Greenpeace USA and other environmental groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on March 16 that accused Chevron of “consistently misrepresenting its image to appear climate-friendly and racial justice-oriented, while its business operations overwhelmingly rely on climate-polluting fossil fuels, which disproportionately harm communities of color.”"

Tiffany Hsu reports for the New York Times March 25, 2021.

Source: NYTimes, 03/26/2021