Advertising Business Linked to Deaths and Greenwashing, by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Who knew that helping corporate clients lie and perpetrate other dirty deeds could lead to legal liability? From Dr. Joseph Mercola at

Advertising agencies wield great power over public opinion, and prosecutors are increasingly starting to look at PR firms’ role in cases where corporations are accused of serious malfeasance or fraud. For example, recently reported that:1

“Hundreds of new greenwashing-related court cases have increased the pressure on PR and advertising agencies, as prosecutors begin to widen their net in terms of who should bear responsibility for the controversial practice …

Since May 2021, 369 climate-related lawsuits against agencies have been concluded, with 218 of those (58%) ruling against the PR and advertising firms … Over the past five years the number of lawsuits relating to the role of PR and advertising in climate change has doubled. The cases are mainly US-based, but span 39 countries in total.”

Smoke and Mirrors

The data reported by CampaignAsia come from the report,2 “Smoke and Mirrors: The Legal Risks of Fossil Fuel Advertising,” published in May 2022 by a climate-change activist organization called Clean Creatives.

The report names WPP, IPG, Dentsu, Publicis and Omnicom — four holding companies that in turn run dozens of individual PR agencies — as being particularly vulnerable to greenwashing lawsuits, as they all work to improve the public image of fossil fuel clients “while they continue to pollute the earth.”

According to Clean Creatives director Duncan Meisel, PR companies take “significant reputational, business and legal risks when they work with fossil fuel companies to spread climate disinformation,” as their work not only hurts the planet but could also land them in court. Meisel also warns that ad agencies may be duped themselves by clients who withhold damaging information, and that such naiveté could end up being costly.

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