Fossil fuels might be out of favour but Havas Media will no doubt be celebrating its global Shell win after wresting the account from WPP, which had held the business since 2005.
Meanwhile, environmental activist group Clean Creatives has plastered New York in apocalyptic posters this week, each one addressed to a different agency that handles fossil fuel accounts. Ogilvy, McCann, Edelman, and Publicis are all singled out. Stagwell is the only holding company to sign the Clean Creatives pledge not to work with fossil fuel clients.
Havas’ position on the issue is that they are happy to work with companies like Shell as long as “they are actively engaged in a transformation journey.”
Shell is big on its “transition strategy” and has declared an intention to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050 but like PM Rishi Sunak, it’s been backtracking regularly on its climate change promises.
Havas London and Havas New York are both registered B Corp companies which means they should have high standards around the environment and society, although the authenticity of the whole B Corp mission has been questioned recently.
A cautiously worded Havas statement said: “We are pleased to have been appointed Shell’s global strategic media buying agency and look forward to working with the Shell team to ensure consumers are better informed about the range of energy solutions it is providing today and investing in for the future.”
Campaign reports that Havas has already lost a short-term client over the win: the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative is not impressed.
WPP – identified by Clean Creatives as the biggest offender in terms of working with fossil fuels – might be glad to swap Shell for Nestlé this week. Although Nestlé has its own controversies over child slavery, the marketing of baby milk formula and the sourcing of its bottled water from indigenous lands that see a lot of droughts.