Friday, October 26, 2007

Public Transport: More Self-Harming Adverts and Positive Images in Popular Culture

For this advert, it seems almost certain that a public transport operator rented out the bus to the television production company or advertising agency.

I am also pleased to bring you the poor, car-less public transport rider, the smelly one and the sick one (but also the compassionate fellow passenger).

This one is so low-budget it might have done without permission, and here we have school bus operators getting in on the action.

An interactive ad at a bus stop in London rounds out the negative examples of this collection.

Again, in possibly all these cases, PT operators or city authorities at least gave permission and at worst took money.... on my planet this is called masochism.

To end on a positive note, a musical group from Venezuela are shown having fun with their mobile electronics (this was filmed in the town which has the same type of metro vehicle which can be accessed here) and, off topic but cute, headways can be annoyingly short sometimes...

... this is part two of this series. See part I here, here and one of one my all time-favourites here. See my Flickr page on same theme.

Dogs on Board!

Thanks for joining us... please see updated version of project HERE.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Shell nominated for Worst Greenwash

In the 'Worst EU Lobby Awards', Royal Dutch Shell has been nominated for suggesting that their oil refineries emit flowers, not smoke.

In the wake of increasing public conviction that climate change needs to be addressed, Shell is trying to remodel its image in order to appeal to the environmental consciousness of potential customers. Advertising in newspapers and magazines in April and May 2007, the company showed a refinery emitting flowers from its chimneys with claims that it uses its “waste CO2 to grow flowers and [its] waste sulphur to make concrete”. However, in reality, less than 0.5 percent of Shell’s total CO2 emissions are piped into Dutch greenhouses to grow flowers. Furthermore, most of Shell’s sulphur waste is used for ship fuel and is finally released in the air. Sea ships are one of the biggest sources of sulphur dioxide pollution.

For full info see here.

See UK Guardian story "No bouquets for Shell press ad"


On February 3, 2007, nature lovers smeared oil all over the photographs at the London Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit, which was sponsored by Shell.


The ‘Worst EU Lobbying’ Award is to be given to the lobbyist, company or lobby group that in 2007 has employed the most deceptive, misleading, or otherwise problematic lobbying tactics in their attempts to influence EU decision-making. This year’s event also includes a special ‘Worst EU Greenwash’ Award for the company whose advertising, PR and lobbying lingo is most at odds with the real environmental impacts of their core business activities.

The EU lobby awards are organised by Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, LobbyControl and Spinwatch.


In 2002 Shell Foundation gave EMBARQ funding which totalled USD 7.5 million, for a five-year programme.

In 2006 alone Royal Dutch Shell made a profit of USD 26.311 billion.

The amount of money Shell gave to EMBARQ represents a very tiny little bit of the money they are playing with. And most of the rest - I assume minus some other donations - is about feeding the automobile habit of the world. Personal cars.. killing, maiming, scaring, screaming, terrorizing. Balance that against the projects of EMBARQ in Mexico, China, Turkey and so on... I don't think you can, no matter how great they are.

That's why it is Greenwash, even if it goes beyond adverts and spin.

Now, I don't only blame EMBARQ - but of course I also don't like that Caterpillar - the company that supplies military bulldozers to the Israeli Army used for tearing down Palestinian homes - is their other major sponsor beside Shell. I blame national governments and the people that vote them in for screwing up priorities so much that an oil addiction pusher like Shell or, again, an advertising company like JCDecaux has to come in and try to save everyone. Still, the foundations and organisations we work with do make choices. What is most disheartening is when they say that Company X is helping them right before they stick their collective head in the sand about the rest of it.

Unfortunately, the recent Towards Carfree Cities conference of World Carfree Network - Green Idea Factory is a member - in Istanbul, hosted by the Turkish Traffic Safety Association, also received some support from EMBARQ. I have not yet received any details on this, but I will post it here when I get more info. Their sponsorship was not so high-profile, but it was still a conscious effort of EMBARQ.

Finally, the Royal Green Shower of Shell gets even worse.

More information and related:
Controversies concerning Royal Dutch Shell
Sourcewatch Wiki on Shell
Shell and Ferrari advert
Very long and funny Shell advert about oil extraction
Greenwash of biggest Czech environmental foundation
Laws on adverts in Norway

Transit Pass - Best Weapon Against Climate Change?

The new report released by the American Public Transportation Association makes some interesting comparisons about various ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases. See press release, fact sheet and full report.

There is a key word or term missing from the report, and I am not sure why. What is it? Here's a hint: Complementary.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hey bus rider, need a car loan?

Johannesburg, South Africa, September 2002 - The advert is from a bank which provides financing for purchasing a car. For more examples of self-destructive advertising on public transport vehicles and related properties - from Beijing, Bogota, Prague and Tallinn - see my Flickr page.

Photo provided by Lloyd Wright from Viva in Quito, Ecuador.

UITP (International Association of Public Transport) has created a ‘Public’s choice’ Award in advance of their 4th International Marketing Conference in Malaga, Spain in November. View nominees and vote here!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cyclists, singing and dancing

What's a Girl to Do? by Bat for Lashes...

Dancing and singing ON the train

Trying doing this is in your Tata or Indian-built Škoda! (Read more here).

The song is "Chaiyya Chaiyya" from the movie Dil Se.

Positive Public Transport in Pop

From 1999, by Luscious Jackson. This video was shot in NYC, their hometown. The singer described herself recently as a city person who always used the subway and her bike. Why can't more bus rides be like this?

Nine years later the singer, Jill Cunniff, continues having fun on public transport.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Greenwash in the Czech Republic

This was featured at my stand for World Carfree Day in Prague, 22 September, 2007.

This is the "partners" webpage from Nadace Partnerství (Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation). The various companies are listed... Skanska as a builder of highways, Ceskomorasky Cement as a provider of materials for highways, Toyota etc. doing their nonsense.

More materials from the stand coming soon...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

UK 'exporting emissions' to China

BBC: The UK's increasing dependence on Chinese goods is contributing to a rise in carbon emissions, a report suggests.

The New Economic Foundation (Nef) says such reliance is adding to CO2 levels because China's factories produce more CO2 per item than British ones.

The report also says many similar goods are both imported and exported, adding needlessly to CO2 output in transport.

Full story.

Toronto: World Record Walk + Anti-Car and Out of Balance

In this video, Toronto's poet laureate describes how walking (and smiles) create community, as Toronto participated in a World Record Walk.


It's time for Toronto to give less priority to cars and more to other modes of transport, a senior Toronto official bluntly told the city's works committee yesterday.

"Maybe a balance is no longer appropriate," said John Mende, Toronto's director of transportation management...

... "I think it's time now to tip the scales in favour of the other modes of transportation, and perhaps create an imbalance in favour of those other modes," he said.

Read full story.

Pollution in Paris... from bicycles

"... hundreds of electric billboards have sprung up all over town. These are part of the deal in which the council provides extensive use of advertising space to an urban display company in payment for its provision of the Vélib’ service.

An anti-advertising group yesterday announced a mass outing to attack the billboards on Friday night [28 September]. The Déboulonneurs organisation, which has made a splash with guerrilla-style raids on Métro station posters, said: “This is visual pollution of the city . . . and energy pollution because each billboard consumes as much electricity as the average household.”

from TimesOnline story on Vélib’

Read press release from Collectif des déboulonneurs and summary of action and response (both in French) . Photos of action.