Shell advert

Shell has pushed back strongly after some of its adverts were banned for making misleading claims about how clean its overall energy production is.

The ban applies to one TV advert, a poster displayed in Bristol and a YouTube advert, all of which were used in 2022.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the adverts all left out information on Shell’s more polluting work with fossil fuels, and cannot be shown in their current form again.

However, a spokesperson for Shell said: “We strongly disagree with the ASA’s decision, which could slow the UK’s drive towards renewable energy.”

They said the adverts were intended to raise awareness of the lower emissions energy products and services Shell is investing more money in.

But the ASA said the selection of ads were likely to mislead consumers as they “misrepresented the contribution that lower-carbon initiatives played, or would play in the near future” compared with the rest of the company’s operations.

The spokesperson for Shell added: “People are already well aware that Shell produces the oil and gas they depend on today. When customers fill up at our petrol stations across the UK, it’s under the instantly recognisable Shell logo.

“But what many people don’t know is we’re also investing heavily in low- and zero-carbon energy, including building one of the UK’s largest public networks of EV charge points. No energy transition can be successful if people are not aware of the alternatives available to them. That is what our adverts set out to show, and that is why we’re concerned by this short-sighted decision.”

In its submission to the ASA Shell argued it would be disproportionate and unworkable for regulators to require businesses with diverse product portfolios to ensure that adverts, whose primary purpose was usually to promote a specific range of products, always provided a representative overview of the advertiser’s business as a whole.

It urged the ASA council to take a more consultative industry-wide approach to develop guidance on the issues considered in the complaint.