Oil Companies Use Paid Content to Protect Business, Documents Show

"BP sees sponsored content as a crucial tool to reach “Washington, DC, elites,” according to subpoenaed memos."

"Oil major BP considers deals to place paid-for content in trusted media brands as key to influencing the Washington power players who set U.S. energy policy, according to internal company documents.

The communications provide a rare unvarnished glimpse into the strategic value the oil industry places on multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals with outlets such as the Washington Post, The New York Times, Reuters, the Financial Times, and Politico.

They were subpoenaed as part of a Congressional investigation into the fossil fuel industry’s decades of deceptive advertising,

“Sponsored content advertising is a powerful way to reach a specific audience focused on specific issues,” BP states in one document. “We use sponsored content as a tool to push our messages directly to Washington, DC, [sic] elites who set and influence energy policy — and can decide whether we keep our license to operate,” it reads.

As the scope of climate accountability begins to extend beyond fossil fuel companies to include their partners in advertising and public relations firms, content created by the in-house advertising studios of major media is coming under growing scrutiny."

Ellen Ormesher and Rebecca John report for DeSmog May 15, 2024.

Source: DeSmog, 05/20/2024