Energy. Environment. Economy.

Gas industry hopes to score points with Super Bowl ads

How hot is shale gas? Hot enough to warrant ad buys during the Super Bowl on Sunday. The American Petroleum Institute has purchased local ad time during the big game in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Colorado, touting the benefits of shale gas development. National advertisers are spending $4.5 million for 30 seconds of air time during Super Bowl XLIX. The local runs are a lot cheaper, but still pretty steep compared to regular rates. API wouldn’t disclose the price tag. Nor would NBC 10. But a media buyer in Philadelphia says the offer for Super Bowl time was $150,000 for 30 seconds two weeks ago. That’s a lot of money compared to the cost of a typical local ad during Monday Night Football, which can run between $35,000 and $40,000. And Temple University says it spent about tens of thousands of dollars for its local ad time during Sunday’s game.

API’s new campaign, “Energy from Shale,” focuses on local community benefits, and features the experiences of local residents.

So in addition to watching a puppy get saved from a big bad wolf by a bunch of horses, or learning how masculinity means giving your kid a bath, Super Bowl watchers in parts of Pennsylvania will be hearing from Washington, Pa. restaurant owner Laura Ross talk about the benefits of fracking for her small town.

The ads don’t shy away from the use of fracking, a word most often used by drilling opponents to loosely mean anything associated with the entire process of unconventional natural gas drilling. Industry typically sticks with a very technical definition of fracking — or hydraulic fracturing — which accounts for a relatively short part of the production process. The ads make the claim that fracking has been occurring safely for 65 years. But large scale hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling to tap shale formations like the Marcellus began in Pennsylvania about ten years ago. Since then, dozens of studies have raised concerns about both short-term and longterm impacts of shale gas drilling on water and air. And Pennsylvania’s environmental regulators have issued dozens of fines, some in the millions of dollars, to drillers who damaged waterways, land and air.


  • JimBarth

    All ads that claim high volume, slick water, multi-stage hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling into shale to be the same as that process introduced in the late 1940′s, should not be allowed to air, and if they are allowed to be aired, the networks that air such lies should be held liable, along with the industry and PR firms that assert this blatant lie.

  • JimBarth

    I just watched the Laura Ross ad, and she should be held liable as well. I am sickened beyond reason that such false assertions are still allowed to be aired at this late date. Frack the industry, frack Laura, frack the PR firms, but stop fracking Pennsylvania.

  • KeepTapWaterSafe

    Aren’t we sick of the gas industry’s lies, America? High volume, slickwater hydraulic fracturing – fracking – was developed in 2003. It’s far more complex than vertical fracturing, which was invented “over 60 years” ago in Denton, Texas, where voters just passed a ban, ironically: ‘Texas city bans fracking in its birthplace, court battles loom’, (Reuters via The Chicago Tribune, November 5, 2014)

    Why not include the ad’s blatant misinformation in your coverage of how much money they’re willing to spend to sell the idea of fracked shale gas to the public? Why not link to the past StateImpactPA coverage of 248 reported cases of water supply contamination in Pennsylvania since 2007? It’s not ‘safe’ just because they say so.

    Well, at least it’s not another blond.

  • Dean Marshall

    False Advertising, Twisted “Facts” and outright lies! Disgusting Propaganda!

  • AlSever

    Don’t you all have more important things to do….like getting Jerry Sandusky released from jail?

    • JimBarth

      That’s your job Mr. Sever. Why not put your Sandusky obsession to good use? Visit him in prison. Bring him animal crackers and tea.

  • JimBarth
    The above link is a good first part response to ads by ANGA, and to Ms. Ross in Washington County.

  • Farmer_Friend

    In less than a minute, Ms. Ross sold out local farmers and small businesses in PA with this misleading ad backed by the gas industry. I’m a farmer in PA and the leaky gas well with a blown-out cement casing on our land is not safe for farming or our community. She says she looked into fracking, but she didn’t look past the industry hype to find the truth. Shame on you, Ms. Ross, for participating in this ad and throwing us all under the tractor.

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