Ad agency McCann under fire after repitching for fossil fuel client Aramco

Global advertising agency McCann is preparing to repitch for its ongoing contract with Saudi oil giant Aramco, despite “growing unease” about its work supporting the fossil fuel industry.

A report from DeSmog has revealed that, while McCann’s current Aramco contracts are set to expire early next year, the company will be repitching for the work – believed to be worth several million pounds a year – despite the oil firm’s record of pollution and greenwashing.

Aramco is estimated to be responsible for almost 5% of the entire world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1965, making it the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitter. It also plans to increase crude oil production over the coming years; a move directly contrary to global warming targets.

McCann’s decision to repitch comes shortly after Havas came under fire for winning Shell’s media account, a move which caused a myriad of reputational difficulties for both the agency and B Corp.

“The agency that wins Saudi Aramco’s business will be a key part of the world’s largest polluter’s plans to wreck the planet,” said campaign group Clean Creatives executive director Duncan Meisel.

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“Saudi Aramco’s climate plans are effectively non-existent, and the reputational risks of associating with them are significant,” he added.

!Pitching for the business of the world’s biggest polluter will be throwing your agency’s climate credentials out the window and your employees under the bus.”

As part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG), McCann also upholds its new environmental sustainability policy which was launched last month and aims to “improve [our] impact on the environment”.

However, this policy – which includes “proactively reviewing the climate impacts of prospective clients that operate in the oil, energy and utility sectors before accepting new work” – will not apply to existing clients, such as Aramco.

One IPG employee told DeSmog that there was “growing unease” within the company about its work for Aramco, with another stating that you could drive an oil tanker through some of the loopholes in [the pledge]”.

According to Clean Creatives, IPG has held at least 25 global contracts with fossil fuel firms since the start of 2022, the third most in the industry. These include Shell, Equinor, and ExxonMobil.

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