Greenpeace Clean Energy Billboard Rejected by Pattison

After a Plains Midstream Canada pipeline spilled between 160,000 and 480,000 liters of oil into Jackson Creek near the Red Deer River in Alberta this month, premier Alison Redford called the incident “an exception.”

Yet, as Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Mike Hudema reports, this spill comes as no surprise given Alberta’s aging pipeline infrastructure and when considering that, in 2010 alone, pipelines across the country experienced 687 ‘failures’ resulting in 3,416 cubic meters of spilled toxic pollutants.

That’s why Greenpeace decided to send Premier Redford a strong message “about the need to invest in green jobs and stop the growing number of toxic oil spills,” Hudema wrote yesterday. 
But this plan was stopped in its tracks when Pattison Outdoor Advertising, an advertising arm of the Vancouver–based Jim Pattison Group, rejected Greenpeace’s billboard design destined for a busy Edmonton intersection. Without ceremony and without explanation, the agency refused to host the proposed billboard sign pictured below, simply announcing to Greenpeace, “the artwork has been rejected.”

As Hudema writes, the rejection comes as a surprise, especially considering how tame the design is compared to previous Greenpeace ads. The real concern this raises is, of course, the ability to speak for clean energy in an increasingly dirty energy-run province.

“The fact that this ad was denied is more than a little worrying. I mean what does it say about the state of public debate in this country when the tar sands industry can put billboards up across the country talking about how toxic tailings are just like yogurt, but a billboard highlighting the rash of oil spills and the need for green energy is rejected,” writes Hudema.

According to the Globe and Mail, Joe Donaldson, vice-president of marketing for Pattison Outdoor, Pattison's official response to the rejection is “no comment.”

It is a mystery what Pattison Outdoor sought to accomplish when it decided Greenpeace's plea for renewable energy was unfit for their stage. The company decided to forego the week's $2800.00 CAD plus tax rental in the axed deal.

Greenpeace might come out ahead in this ordeal, however, with stories of the billboard rejection making headlines across the country.

“We are encouraging people to circulate the ad,” Hudema told the Globe and Mail. “If Pattison doesn't want to run it we can at least get the awareness out.”


Greenpeace, apparently werent aware of the correct protocols that must be followed in order to have signs like this accepted.

Step 1, fill paper bag with cash.

Step 2, sureptitiously slip bag onto lawmakers desk

Step 3, sing praises of democracy & say something nationalistic.

Step 4, leave knowing there is now no review process and the advertisement will be accepted.


This was a private transaction.

However,  it is disconcerting when you consider that one US advertiser would run the Unabomber, Climate Change ads;

Which ended with Joe Bast begging for someone’s rich uncle to keep funding them.

I would also point out that this is exactly how modern censorship works.  If you open a newspaper, and look at a page of ads.. you begin to realize that what is being sold is you…

Its just economics.  If you call and complain about an ad… what ever… pull your subscription.. who cares.  If an advertiser does it, well, that’s a different story. They spend a lot of money.  Subscribers are a dime a dozen and that is the central message of the modern age.  (Come back when you have 100,000 friends.)

And yes, Greenpeace couldn’t buy this kind of coverage.  The forums are ‘abuzz.

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