The Sierra Club of Canada filed a damning complaint
against Canwest and Shell Canada, alleging they “violated the Canadian
Code of Advertising Standards.”The press release from the environmental
organization said “Canwest has run a series of full page features
described as, “A six-week Canwest special information feature on
climate change, in partnership with Shell Canada.” Sierra Club Canada
was at first confused by the one-sided nature of the “information” and
contacted the Ottawa Citizen only to find out the “features” were in
fact full-page advertisements.”
The Sierra Club charges “Canwest tried to hide the fact articles on the oilsands that ran in
several of its 11 major dailies were paid for by Shell Canada,” reported the Canadian Press, which noted that online representations of the articles are “hard to tell from regular news stories.”
the time of this J-Source posting, a story by Brian Burton, “Capturing
carbon dioxide” with the note “SPECIAL INFORMATION FEATURE,” was still up, here,
on the Edmonton Journal site below a large banner ad for Shell.
“Special Information Feature” stories headlined “Shell innovation
unlocks oil sands” were on the Canada.com site and at the Financial Post.
in my opinion, would not be read as obvious paid advertisements by an
online reader who was not a media-industry insider such as a journalist
or media analyst.
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