Oil companies are approaching influencers and enlisting PR firms to reach younger generations on social media

Companies like ExxonMobile and Shell are partnering with social media influencers.

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

TikTok influencers with millions of followers are partnering with companies like ExxonMobil and Shell.
These companies are also using PR firms that help them target millenials and younger generations, The Washington Post reports.
“They are trying to win the trust of a younger generation,” one investigative reporter said.

Oil companies are paying social media influencers to promote their brands and reach younger audiences, according to reports from The Washington Post and DeSmog.

Companies like Shell and ExxonMobil all work with influencers, the outlets found. More than 100 influencers have partnered with oil companies since 2017, according to DeSmog. 

“They are trying to win the trust of a younger generation,” said Sam Bright, DeSmog’s UK deputy editor, told The Post. “They’re not just promoting a particular product, but trying to alter their perception in the public eye and maintain their social license.”

“Many don’t know we are also, in a disciplined way, investing billions in low-carbon solutions and products in support of a balanced energy transition,” Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith told The Post. “Making customers aware of those products by way of advertising on social media is one way we pursue business performance and a valid part of our marketing activities.”

“ExxonMobil, like many companies, works with influencers to educate consumers about the full benefits of our rewards program,” Julie King, a spokesperson for ExxonMobil, told Insider.

Both outlets cited TikTok and Instagram influencer Nora Capistrano Sangalang — with 1.7 million followers — partnered with Shell to promote their loyalty program. Another example includes Meredith Steele — a TikTok influencer with 1 million followers — also partnered with ExxonMobil last year to promote their rewards app. 

Neither influencer responded to Insider’s request for comment ahead of publication. 

These fuel companies aren’t working alone, either. For example, Edelman, a public relations firm, works with Shell to promote it to millenials and younger audiences, the Post reports.

“The company tasked Edelman with the job of giving millennials a reason to connect emotionally with Shell’s commitment to a sustainable future,” Edelman’s website reads. “We needed them to forget their prejudices about ‘big oil’ and think differently about Shell.”

Edelman did not respond to Insider’s request for comment ahead of publication.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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