"You Can't Run Your SUV on 'Cute'": Shell Gets Trolled by Greenpeace
By Laura Hogg
From the NatuREport Blog Series
Welcome back to NatuREport! This week in the news: in a hilariously successful example of trolling, Greenpeace teamed up with The Yes Lab to create a fake ad campaign lampooning Shell’s plan to drill for oil in Alaska’s delicate Arctic ecosystem.
In a bold move, it appears Shell has decided to open up their latest ad campaign to the public. Complete with a shiny new website, the campaign invites consumers to add their own pro-oil sentiments to their new Arctic drilling slogan: “Let’s go!”
So what did the public come up with? Well…see for yourself:
Seem like a bit of a reckless decision for a huge oil company? It certainly seems that way.
Except, unfortunately, it’s all a hoax.
The ad campaign was not created by Shell; instead, it is the brainchild of Greenpeace and activists known as The Yes Lab. It’s not a shabby fake, either – the website is complete with legitimate-looking contact information, terms & conditions, and it own Facebook and Twitter pages. They even went so far as to create an online iceberg-melting game for kids: “Angry Bergs.”
But though the ad campaign is meant to be ridiculous, it brings up several valid concerns – namely, that the Arctic ecosystem in which Shell plans to drill is incredibly delicate. According to Greenpeace’s Travis Nichols: "The Arctic ecosystem is so different from the other ecosystems that we're used to dealing with, because there are so few inputs…In the Arctic, if you mess one thing up, you mess up the whole thing." And drilling would certainly mess things up – not only for the cute-‘n’-fuzzy animals depicted in the ads, but also for the local Eskimo populations.
"What we're trying to do is use humor and ... social media to call Shell out for what is a reckless and unscientific drilling program, and to engage the public,” says James Turner, a spokesman for Greenpeace.
Well, mission accomplished. The site looks real enough that it has fooled countless consumers into thinking it’s the real deal (there are plenty of ads mocking Shell’s marketing team). Shell, to their credit, does not plan to sue the groups – but damage has certainly been done. It’s awfully hard to change the public’s perception once they’ve seen things like this:
Now I’ll turn it over to you, NatuREporters: