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 Replies to “Why Shell’s Marketing is so Disgusting

  1. retarded vid, guy making vids complain about others poluting (with manipulating numbers), how much does your vid polute each time its viewed? How much does the servers poluted? Your Pc? Not only in power usage now, but in development/manufactoring/transport? Easy to point fingers at others, but guess what, your no better yourself.

  2. 1:47 "that the real increase in gloabal temperature will be detectable […] early next centaury" And here we are with predictions that we knew of for atleast 31 years coming ture…

  3. What are you expecting from such a company? "Hey we are one of the biggest oil companies on earth and make profits even elon musk can only dream of. But we are willing to give all of this up and close all our petrol stations so the people can't say we aren't environmentally friendly :)" seriously??? it's obvious…

  4. I was like: Hey why is this guy sounding like the guy of Simplicissimus? But then i remembered that this is your second channel 😉

    Good Video!

  5. In fact, the production of one electric car needs as much Co2 (is this correct?) as if a common car drives about 100000 km!

  6. legit if wasn’t for the fact that EVERYONE in the comment section are talking about him being German etc I wouldn’t think about it too much. but u make it seem like that’s his whole personality like I came for the content ples stop

  7. Mate, ich kann mir die Videos nich auf englisch ansehen. Der Akzent is mir zu heftig. Könnt ihr die Videos auf deutsch auch nochmal auf Simpli hochladen?

  8. just for information, Tesla is actually pretty good in production, because the whole productions are operated with energy from solar cells on the roof.

  9. You see the problem with electric cars is it still depends how the energy is being made. If it's on sofiel fules it wont help much. But yhe me as a Dutch man can say shell is evil

  10. i'd start a interesting and informative discussion in the comments, but…

    gUyS dId yOu heAr hIs GerMaN aCcEnT???

  11. I think all these companies are playing a stupid game – preserving the status quo. Whereas, it can easily be seen why it is in their best interest to do so, they should look to Google to understand why risky moves will pay them off. Google has invested in a lot of risky ventures over the years because they could afford to. Since they are a big company, they could afford to invest in risky innovative ventures – if it works, it would bring them a heck lot of revenue whereas if such investments fail, they would not hurt them much. Because loss of a few million dollars to a company who are making billions in revenue isn't a big deal. Think about it – with investments in innovation of green technology, they could actually take out all their oil company competitors. On the other hand, they would also have a good amount of time to switch their infrastructure from fossil fuel to renewables. Because it is highly unlikely renewable energy is going to replace all fossil fuel overnight – no matter how revolutionary the technology is.

  12. Es währe cool wenn ihr hier auf dem englischen Kanal so groß werdet wie kurz gesagt in Englisch. Das bessere ist sogar das die Kanal Betreiber nicht Mahl in Deutschland leben, sonder in den Niederlande glaube ich.

  13. Man this video is stupid no offense. Of course you won't get objective information and ways of improving our climate from an oil company ad. And of course they're lobbying, everyone would if a multi-billion company is at stake. It's just a stunt to look more green but i could've told you that before i watched the video. The "influencers" that are featured here are the real jackasses because they're promoting shell for cash.

  14. Hey, I'm Irish and I love these videos! I came across the previous video as I'm learning German and was looking to widen my knowledge on the country. I sincerely hope the English community of fans grows soon. (P.S: If the majority of comments are from Germans, Germany must be great at learning English!)

  15. I think shells marketing sucks but shell themselves are evolving they launched Prelude last year and are trying to put down the amount of emissions

  16. man made climate change isnt real, thats my thought. it is being pushed as a agenda to further exploit us, the „regular worker“ with taxes on emissions. i bet in their data in the show they didn‘t add the emissions caused by the production of the batteries. whats next? having to pay if you want to breathe?

  17. These people have no moral compass whatsoever, and that's what's so worrying. They are willing to look past facts for their personal gain.

  18. funfact:
    electric cars are worse than normal ones.
    the production of a electric car consumes way more energy and produces more pollution than a diesel would be, driving 350.000km. FACT

  19. I checked through all you sources and compared their content and that of your video. And I can't stress the fact of how much stuff you have taken out of context or even quoted wrongly.

    1st: Shell is a fuel producer. How naive must someone be to think they will not try to save their ass when looking at their ad. Because clearly , your intentions to raise this topic where environmental ones. There is no objectivity in your words. There is no greenwashing to be found in this spot. They always did and still do promote burning of fossile fuel.

    2nd: Stop shitting people with thinking that "lobbying against e-mobility" is bad per say when you use it as an argument against shell but then devalue the same argument at end of the video yourselve. Electric cars NEVER were eco-friendly. Its like saying the shit I took last week is environment-frienly compared to the shit I took today, because I only ate spinach. … Especially not when car owner numbers rise steadily. Nor are buses or trains or anything that we humans use as transport. Because it simply cant. Eco-friendly is walking or using your bike. Btw, did you know Shell operates over 50000 charging points worldwide being no. 4 in the Top 5 List with Chargepoint being No.1 with about an estimated of 70000 charging locations? No, well doesnt suprise me. Just off the record, I never would buy an E-vehicle, and would never endorse Shell. But I do get my facts right. Speaking about facts:

    3rd: "100 companies account for(!) 71% of global industrial(!) GHG emissions" . "Account for" , not "are responsible for". Also , "industrial" , not just 71% of all GHGs alltogether..
    Also only 9%(!) of industrial GHGs are connected to privatly owned companies (like shell etc.). 32% are public-investor owned and 59% are state-owned(!). Speaking of "private" company lobbying. Who buys the fuel ,huh?

    4th: How can you even think to blame that single company with a "whopping" 1,67% amongst a misleading Top10 list (again of only industrial GHG) when its production-volume is a tiny bit compared to the big 5, China, Saudi, Gazprom, Exxon. Chinese coal driven indstries alone account for 24%(!) . Btw, all that info, taken from your own sources. At the end you even flat out lie about the emissions. They went down from 73mio to 71mio tons. Again, those figures are taken only from your sources…

    5th: Despite your "humble" opinion of the spot itself, mentioning that Shell "is not green" is something nobody would ever have thought of them, making it more obvious how desperately you try to make your point. Seriously, if you talk about this huge company on such a sensitive and substantial topic you better be god damn honest about it when naming figures and stating facts. Your own opinion belongs to the very last 10 seconds of a clip, and only there.

    I really got the opinion of you having a problem with a fuel companies ad , less with their actual agenda and deeds. Your original intention to objectively use facts as critique, turned more and more into a personal opinion controlled bashing. Just irresponsible how ppl take bits and pieces of papers they somewhere found thinking they can use this to reuse those bits in their own "paper" or work to only focus on a specific cause they deem worthy mentioning for some reason.

    Shell is a company that is the opposite of an angel, like many other companies out their that follow demand and offer. But I can bindly say that its ppl like you, your dad, your mum that bought and buy products which are being produced either way , using oil or burning it . That is what made this company, and only THAT is what can make it change. Cause all that you pointed out, was "that is not how its done". But no idea, no epiphany no synergy no real progressiveness.Hell Business Insider takes 7 minutes to explai about lobsters, and you only need 7 minutes to talk about Shell??

    Seriously , when you cant cite correctly, nor control yourself to have an objective mind, you better do something else. Fold paper into origami or something. Something that cant harm society's naive and fragile knowledge-base. Most of the Youtube community might buy it due to the drama, but I hope you will realize what shit you cause when you publish it like this.( The same drama and misleading brainwashing Shell is doing in their spots. The only thing is, Shell is supposed to be the bad guy…)

  20. Ok guys, the Shell next to my house gets robbed all the time so I think they’re mad. I’ll tell the thieves to stop and they’ll stop destroying the world😤

  21. What the fuck do you want us to do, walk or ride horses 🐎, I say no I will not ride a horse 🐎. We know Shell oil is an evil company, those bastards from Shell would cut off are heads if they could make a profit.

  22. just looked up co2 emissions per capita from netherlands and i did the math. turns out that shell the "royal dutch company" actully produces 4 times as much CO2 than their entire country of origin. thanks for coming to my TED talk

  23. Good video, however make sure to mark the sources in the video. I saw you did that in the description but if you want to make a scientific video you should do one of the following:

    "Shell only investef 4% in renewables (1)" and then list all the numbers in the description

    Or

    "Shell only invested 4% in renewables (Guardian 2017, Mustermann 2018)" and then list the sources alphabetically in the description. This is the scientific way of doing it and it makes your video a lot more professional.

    In your video you make statements that you (at least in the video) dont show sources for. If you show the source right after the statement it adds a lot of credibility.

  24. Random vid popping up in my recommendations…
    Starts watching video, remembers voice, remembering you guys started an english channel….. Instant subscribed

  25. Despite all the facts in the video you can't see behind the curtains of this company. Maybe there's a fierce war going on between climate promoters and non-climate provoters.
    I did not research that, so the only source
    i have is your video, but as long as you don't at least consider their perspective, i have to say: "Im Zweifel für den Angeklagten" (in dubio pro reo)
    Oder "War stets bemüht" (always wanted the best, old german mark on report cards)

  26. Why not grow up, admit we cannot sustain our modern world without some kind of fuel source, and then acknowledge that all have their advantages and disadvantages, instead of a naive mindset that suggests we can have it all without any problems?

    Electric cars aren't powered by pixie farts.

    Think of the electricity we would need if everyone drove electric cars.

    We would need to multiply our current electrical output by a million.

    Where does that power come from?

    Is it completely clean?

    Or is it going to make things only slightly less damaging?

    Less is still less, of course.

    What about the infrastructure needed for all those cars that need regular, reliable recharging facilities?

  27. hi! i dont have a problem with your english, i can understand every single word!
    nontheless id love to see you upload the videos from reasy in german on simpli too, maybe 2bg if u dont want to upload it on simpli haha 😀
    still love watching the reasy videos tho!
    keep it up

  28. I think mopeds are a good way to partially solve the climate problem, they don’t cost much to fuel and are quite efficient at their low speed (fyi im talking about 50 cc engine mopeds)

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