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Shell loyalty scheme ad deemed misleading

Shell loyalty scheme ad deemed misleading

News Writer , Essential Retail: Email Ben | Follow @BSillitoe

Energy company Shell has been issued with a warning by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about broadcasting misleading ads.

A radio advert heard in January 2020 relating to the Shell Go+ loyalty scheme must not appear again in the same form, and Shell UK was told it must make it clear claims of carbon offsetting were contingent on membership of a loyalty scheme. Some 17 complainants challenged the ad commentary, “Drive carbon-neutral by filling up and using Shell Go+ today. Make the change. Drive carbon-neutral”.

Shell Go+ is a loyalty scheme to which consumers are required to sign-up and then show their membership card when they make a purchase. In those circumstances the carbon emissions related to that fuel purchase are offset by Shell, but the ASA said there was nothing in the ad suggesting the commentary was related to a loyalty scheme.

In that context, the ad authority considered listeners were likely to infer Shell Go+ was a fuel for which Shell would offset the carbon emissions related to that fuel purchase.

Shell said it did not believe that consumers could be confused into thinking Shell Go+ was a new carbon-neutral fuel, and claimed the ad made a clear distinction between the fuel and the loyalty scheme by using the line “drive carbon neutral by filling up and using Shell Go+ today”.

Nevertheless, the ASA’s decision to ban the ad provides a warning to retailers and brands to be comprehensive when describing their apps, loyalty programmes, and initiatives in marketing materials.

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