McCann fossil fuel repitch ridiculed for climate hypocrisy

Adland heavyweight McCann is being ridiculed by campaigners for repitching for the account of large oil and gas company Aramco, as they accuse the agency of climate hypocrisy.

The campaigners have launched a spoof ad agency called Atmospheric, which launched with a statement billboard which reads: ‘The climate is changing. Business shouldn’t have to’.

Created by campaign group Glimpse, in conjunction with Oli Frost and Utopia Bureau, the protest project also features a satirical website, LinkedIn page, fake pitch decks and even a dictatorial CEO named Jamie KolKot.

The end of the website contains a note detailing that despite the fact the agency isn’t real, its creators believe its intentions are not far removed from those of real agencies.

It comes after the investigative climate journalism site DeSmog revealed that McCann was repitching for the deal, despite being a member of the Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG) which has launched an environmental sustainability policy aiming to “improve” the firm’s environmental impact.

Glimpse founder James Turner said: “This website is completely ridiculous. But it’s nowhere near as absurd as pitching for the world’s most polluting companies while pretending to have a meaningful policy on climate change.

“Agencies need to decide which is more important to them: their reputation or their fossil fuel clients. They can’t have both”.

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Glimpse commissioned YouGov research which revealed that despite being the world’s largest CO2 emitter only 22% of UK adults are aware of Aramco, with greater awareness of the role of BP (91%), ExxonMobil (51%) and Chevron (42%).

In addition, the research revealed a significant knowledge gap regarding Big Oil’s investments in renewable energy, with significantly overestimated how much (stating figures above 80% for all three companies). The actual figure was less than 5%.

Overall, over half of UK adults (53%) say climate factors should be considered when advertising agencies choose which clients to work with, with this rising to over six in ten (65%) for 18-24 year olds.

Meanwhile, one in three people (37%) believe advertising agencies should not make ads for fossil fuel companies.

Utopia Bureau Climate Comms Lab founder and creative director Ben Carey added: “Very soon, fossil fuel companies will be less socially acceptable as clients than arms dealers with a sideline in kid-friendly cigarettes. Agencies need to just stop pitching for oil”.

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