Shell advert: ‘Renewables are unreliable, like women’

A closer look at Shell's 'beautiful relationship'

In their latest foray into the new and deeply underrated genre of new wave greenwash, Shell takes us on a dreamy Parisian romance (clearly not filmed in Paris), and show that they understand what the greatest filmmakers have known for decades: nothing sells natural gas like antiquated gender stereotypes.

This flighty little thing is Renewable Energy, the star of this picture.


She’s gorgeous, sure. But she’s unreliable, and completely at the mercy of the sun.

She needs someone constant, someone measured. Someone who can compensate for her wild mood swings.

She needs a man.

And what a man.

Natural Gas wins his woman the way all real men do: by following her in the street.

And he knows nothing impresses the ladies like frugality.

(Even if he’s actually a pretty expensive date himself.)

Mr Natural Gas always has the answers to assuage Renewable Energy’s constant and desperate need for reassurance.

And he’s not the kinda guy she can just get rid of. He decides how long he’ll stick around, and it might be longer than she thought (which isn’t ominous at all).

Self-styled matchmakers Shell obviously think that Natural Gas is the answer to Renewable Energy’s lonely, manic prayers, even if he is creepy and cheap – which he isn’t (cheap, that is. He’s plenty creepy.)

Other oil majors, including ExxonMobil, agree. So does the UK government actually.

Shell might wish it was the good ol’ 1950s – when it was okay to call women incapable and Al Gore hadn’t yet invented climate change – but sadly for them it’s the 21st century, and little miss Renewable Energy is on her way to emotional independence.

Back in the 50s when it first appeared, solar power actually was pretty dependent on the weather.

But times have changed. Batteries have got much bigger and are mass produced to store power – you can even get solar farms that power cities at night using nothing but salt.

Long distance power lines can bring power from where the sun is shining to where it’s not, plus there’s this wild new thing the kids are calling ‘information technology’ – it’s  given us ‘smart grids’, ‘demand management’ and ‘algorithms’ to balance out supply and demand.

For now, Mr Gas is still skulking about the streets of ‘Paris’. The thing is, he’s a fossil fuel. Which means that if you want to tackle climate change, he needs to leave pretty much now.

So it looks like Ms Renewable can actually do her thing without Mr Gas. Bad luck mate, at least you’ll always have your poetry.