By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

October 22, 2021 | 2 min read

Comedian Joe Lycett has held energy giant Shell to account for its climate promises in a shit-talking parody ad from broadcaster Channel 4.

The imposter ad was created to promote Lycett’s investigation of Shell, Joe Lycett vs the Oil Giant. In the show he will look to see whether the brand’s sustainability claims can be taken seriously, or whether there is greenwashing afoot.

In the spot, Lycett hints that the ”lots of pictures of forests and windmills” in Shell’s marketing materials may not reflect the full truth of the business’s output.

As part of the show, Lycett is seen trying to get the ad aired, likely unaware its inclusion of several fecal ejections renders it unairable. These restrictions won’t stop the ad from running as part of the episode or online, where it will accumulate many curious viewers. The ad was created by Rumpus Media and distributed by Channel 4 ahead of the Joe Lycett vs the Oil Giant’s debut at 9pm on October 24.

On commissioning the 60-minute episode, Alf Lawrie, head of factual entertainment at Channel 4, said: “Few now deny climate change, but there are powerful vested interests still trying to delay tackling it. Who better to shine his torch of truth into the dark caverns of misinformation than Britain’s most fearless – and most fun – campaigner, Joe Lycett?”

The show will air in the run up to Cop26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, which kicks off in Glasgow at the start of November. It is expected there will be more backlashes for brands perceived to have harmed the environment, as already seen in a guerilla campaign from Brandalism that hijacked out-of-home sites with critical messages looking to avert the climate disaster.

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