Cannes, France – Greenpeace France activists have scaled the venue of one of the world’s biggest advertising events in the world, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, to call on a fossil ads and sponsorship ban and to ask advertising firms to cut ties with the fossil fuel industry. The climbers arrived on board a fire truck to highlight that burning fossil fuel is causing catastrophic global heating, as parts of Europe have reached record temperatures this week. The peaceful protest comes as 40 organisations are pushing a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) petition, calling for a new law that bans fossil fuel advertising and sponsorship in the EU.

This morning at the Palais des Festivals, the climbers hung a banner that read “Fossil ads are burning the planet”. Some were dressed as the viral “This is fine” dog meme, usually used to convey a sense of denial in a dramatic situation, such as the climate crisis. 

Environmental campaigners are calling on ad and PR agencies to stop working with companies whose actions are driving extreme weather, community displacements and international conflict.  Since the Paris Agreement at least 300 awards have been given out in Cannes Lions to advertising for more air travel, to oil companies that greenwash and to ads that promote climate wrecking products.[1] 

Outside the venue, Greenpeace European Unit Campaigner Silvia Pastorelli said:

“The fossil fuel industry uses advertising and sponsorship to clean up its image, delay climate action and secure political access. When we see glossy billboards of the latest electric cars, what we don’t see is an industry that is only interested in expanding and continuing to drill for oil, until the last drop is out, until we don’t have a planet where to be creative.” 

This year for the first time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report exposed the role of PR and advertising in fuelling the climate crisis, while hundreds of scientists signed a letter calling on public relations and advertising agencies to stop working with fossil fuel companies and spreading climate disinformation.[3][4]

“Europe is buzzing with how to increase oil and fossil gas production while the ground is literally burning under our feet. Advertising is helping the fossil fuel industry define our present and our future. Their business is to keep us hooked on fossil fuels and to block the action that we urgently needed for a green and just transition. With this European Citizens’ Initiative we can shape the law and take the microphone away from climate criminals,” said Pastorelli.

If an ECI reaches one million verified signatures in a year, the European Commission is legally obliged to respond and consider implementing the demands into European law.[4]

On Monday, a Greenpeace France activist and former winner and jury of the festival, interrupted the opening ceremony to return a Lion prize he won for working for a car company and to call out advertising agencies gathered in the event for being complicit in spreading disinformation around the climate catastrophe and promoting their polluting products.[5]


Photo and video available from the Greenpeace Media Library.


[1] AdForum 

[2] Why the IPCC shone a spotlight on ad agencies still working with fossil fuel clients

[3] Scientists target PR and ad firms they accuse of spreading disinformation

[4] For more information about the European Citizens’ Initiative, Ban Fossil Fuel Advertising and Sponsorships: A European Citizens’ Initiative (or ECI) is a petition that is officially recognised by the European Commission. If an ECI reaches one million verified signatures in the timeframe allowed, then the European Commission is legally obliged to respond, and may consider making our demands into European law. 

[5] Cannes Lions Awards: Greenpeace activist and former winner crashes ceremony to call for a ban on fossil fuel advertising


Sol Gosetti, Media Coordinator Fossil Free Revolution, Greenpeace Netherlands: [email protected], +44 (0) 7807352020 WhatsApp +44 (0) 7380845754

Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

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