Polluters are good at advertising, here's what we can learn from them

Polluters are good at advertising, here's what we can learn from them
(Source: Canva)

Whether selling household essentials, a service or even an idea, a good advert has so much power. This is something polluters, from Big Tobacco to Big Dairy, have long been aware of.

We might have moved on from the days of Marlboro Cowboys and established strong advertising regulators, but it can still be a minefield to navigate the stories we’re sold.

We know that polluters are continuing to spend. It won’t be news to most that some fossil fuel-linked organisations reportedly spent between 3-4 million USD during Cop27 on digital alone. In advertising terms, that’s a lot of money. Beyond this, other climate-unfriendly industries have also been using smart advertising to further their categories for a long time. 

Yet we can look at this another way. With some of the best and brightest minds in ad land under their collective wing, there’s a lot we can learn from the way polluters are advertising. If we’re hoping to compete and drive positive sentiment towards climate issues, we need to put pen to paper and take note.

In this post, we'll delve into the three powerful advertising lessons we can learn from polluters:

  1. Don’t serve adverts, tell stories.
  2. Use people to spread the word. Find messengers trusted by your audience.
  3. Put your message in the right place. Consider where your audience will have their guard up, and where they’ll be more open to your message.