Ad agencies working for airlines are targeted by enviro activists

By our News Team | 2022

Brandalism group aims to embarrass airlines and wants advertising agency employees to refuse to do work for high-carbon clients.

Prominent advertising agencies that work for major airlines have been taken to task by environmental activists in Europe, who accuse them of helping the airlines to further climate change.

The agencies that were targeted by the organisation, called Brandalism, include Ogilvy, Dentsu, DBB München and VCCP. Among the airlines they have as clients are British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Ryanair and EasyJet.

Environmental Activism

Photo courtesy of Brandalism

Brandalism wants a tobacco-style advertising ban on the airline industry, and works with other like-minded groups such as Adfree Cities and Badvertising, both of which want laws to curb the advertising of high-carbon products.

Brandalism struck against the ad agencies last week by putting up spoof ads on billboards that criticised the airline sector and highlighted the climate damage that activists say the industry is causing.  

Airlines is accused of ‘world-trashing prices’

For example, the billboard spoofing Ryanair calls it “Ruinair” and the slogan reads “Low fares to Plastic Island. World trashing prices from …” The airline is best known for budget summer holiday deals from the UK to European beach-side destinations.

A parody ad for German airline Lufthansa ad reads: “#SayYesToTheEndOfTheWorld. At Lufthansa, we distract you with pictures of trees while we fry the planet. Greenwash ads by DDB München.”

“The allure and glamour of high-carbon lifestyles such as frequent flying has been purposefully crafted by the advertising industry and show no signs of relenting – despite one of the hottest summers on record,” said Brandalism spokesperson, Tona Merriman.

“Advertising agencies such as Ogilvy, VCCP, Dentsu and DDB Munchen need to consider their role in driving up emissions for airlines they work for such as British Airways, EasyJet, KLM and Lufthansa. We call on employees in those firms to refuse work for high-carbon clients.”

Added Robbie Gillett from Adfree Cities: “Advertising for airlines and airports is driving up demand for flights and trashing the climate. We urgently need to see the creation of viable, sustainable transport alternatives to flying that ensures job security for workers currently employed in aviation. In the meantime, a simple step that government, both local and national, can take is to prohibit advertising for polluting products – for the benefit of people’s health, air quality and the climate.”