A 30-second commercial for oil by the American Petroleum Institute sparked anger on social media after last night’s Super Bowl, as its message runs counter to the environmental agenda that has been dominating mainstream media over the last few years.
Critics on Twitter, for example, attacked CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter for sharing his appreciation of the ad. Some challenged the truthfulness of the ad, which focused on several popular uses of petroleum and petroleum derivatives, while others ranked it among the best ads in this year’s Super Bowl.
ESPN does not agree with the latter, though, and did not include API’s spot in its Top 5 commercials of Super Bowl LI.
USA Today spoke to API’s president, Jack Gerard, before the ad was aired, and he said the message of the ad was about the progress in shale oil and gas extraction that has greatly enhanced America’s energy independence and the refutation of the direct causal link between oil and gas, and climate change: Gerard noted that last year’s CO2 emissions were the lowest in 25 years thanks to the increased use of natural gas for power generation.
Critics, for their part, said that the ad overlooks the long-term effects of fossil fuel use. On Twitter, criticism sometimes led to ironic responses such as the ones below:
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It’s a fact that petroleum-derived chemicals and oil products are used in many everyday products including aspirin, clothing, and, not least, solar panels, as well as wind turbines: Gerard told USA Today that “A lot of people don’t realize that the composites that allow those wind turbines to be more efficient and lightweight derive from natural gas.”
The ad, he said, signaled a “transition of thought” – or awareness raising – about the many uses of crude oil besides fuels for cars and power plants. These uses seem to have become sidetracked with the advance of the green agenda globally but they are still there, as evidenced by the API commercial.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.