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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

The F-List

Finalist in Multi-Platform Campaign

Entered in On a Shoestring


Clean Creatives is a non-profit fighting climate change by pressuring ad agencies and the industry itself to stop working on fossil fuel clients. These clients include companies like Shell, BP, Chevron, and Exxon, as well as other companies involved in the business of fossil fuels or representing their interests. With active fossil fuel producers responsible for 3/4 of global emissions since 1988, any negative impact on their advertising effectiveness will have an outsize impact on total global emissions.

The primary audience of Clean Creatives is unique: the people working in the advertising and PR industry. Our challenge is to continue to find novel ways to reach this discerning group, bringing further awareness to our cause and swelling our ranks. On a shoestring budget, our campaigns blend education, persistence, solidarity, and revolution. The goal of the F-List was to shine a spotlight on agency-fossil fuel relationships through a variety of novel campaigns, creating conversation (both online and IRL) and awareness around our cause. And, most importantly, inspire more agencies and creatives to sign our pledge not to work on fossil fuels. 

Strategy and Execution

The F-List is Clean Creatives’ campaign to publicly identify (and draw attention to) all of the PR and ad agencies that work for the fossil fuel industry. These clients are the ad industry’s dirty secret; unlike other well-paying brands, they are often unmentioned on the front page of agency websites or in social media posts. We had to comb website code, scrape through LinkedIn, and scroll dozens of tax records to figure out the truth behind how the world’s biggest ad companies support fossil fuel pollution. This lack of transparency created an opportunity to provide a service to ad professionals and get our targets to pay attention by making these relationships public. 

Our challenge in this ongoing campaign is to continue to find novel and interesting ways to present the information to a discerning audience: the most creative people in advertising and industry press. This can’t look and feel like a generic activist campaign. To start, we combined smart design and slick writing with a catchy name riffing on AdAge’s The A-List. And, with a highly limited budget, every campaign activation has to punch above its weight.

The F-List report launched in September 2021 as the most comprehensive list of agencies and their fossil fuel clients ever released. Among other publications, The F-List report about the connections we revealed between the world’s biggest agencies and polluters was talked about in industry trades like Adweek and AdAge

We didn’t stop there. With The 2022 F-List Awards Show, we flipped the script of industry awards — sought-after recognition for distinctive work — to awards no one wants to win as part of the world’s first greenwashing award show. We promoted the show on social media by digitally parodying “For your consideration” OOH campaigns, which were recognized as Adweek’s Ad of the Day. To make the show entertaining while also speaking to the actual harms we see in fossil fuel advertising, we partnered with comedy writer Taylor Kay Phillips and got Rollie Williams (Climate Town, YouTube) to host.

We gave out 9 awards, including the Special Achievement in Selective Awareness to WPP, the Excellence in Science Fiction to BBDO, and the Lifetime Achievement for Shortening LIfetimes to Edelman. We got luminaries to present awards and be part of the live-stream, including US Senator Whitehouse, activist Bill McKibben, University of Oregon Professor Deb Morrison, and Slow Factory. All-in, the entire award show part of the campaign, including the production, promotion, and live-stream on our social channels, cost us only $35,000.

In the fall, we released The F-List Report 2022, an updated report with 230+ agency-client relationships. Like the previous year, we targeted #AdTwitter — the biggest community of advertisers in the world. Our completely organic 250-tweet thread received over 200K impressions thanks to the support of our community engagement and the Twitter algorithm. Additionally, we spent $6K on a wild posting buy during NYC Climate Week, which independently led to a lively discussion on LinkedIn about our campaign among our exact target audience.


The F-List campaign and coverage helped to make this issue an unavoidable topic of discussion within the industry and continues to be a jumping-off point for conversations with agency leaders across the globe.


The 2022 report led to numerous agencies letting Clean Creatives know they no longer held the relationships we uncovered — and our public corrections helped to signal the effectiveness of The F-List as a catalyst for change. Particularly, campaign visibility has empowered our allies currently working at agencies as they push for change from within. Our target audience (people in advertising) are thinking and talking about the topic, as relayed to us anecdotally and evidenced by the conversations on social media, particularly around our wild posting on LinkedIn.

At the launch, we had less than 100 agency signers of the Clean Creatives pledge not to work with fossil fuel clients. We ended 2022 with over 450 agencies signed on. Our third biggest period of growth is directly attributable to The F-List Award Show. In total, we have over 1300 signers of the pledge, including agencies, individuals, and brands.

Additionally, this campaign continues to help grow our social channels and garnered millions of potential impressions from earned media in campaign coverage from Adweek to The Guardian, driving further awareness of our cause to a demographic increasingly receptive to it.


Video for The F-List

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Lots of good ideas, Clean Creatives


Entry Credits