Greenpeace has created an internet hoax to protest against Shell's oil explorations in the Arctic, but Shell has said it is not taking a legal action against the environmental group.
Shell is about to begin exploratory operations in its first offshore drilling in the Arctic in two decades. This effort has been met with criticisms from international environmentalists, most notably, Greenpeace.
Xena and Spartacus actress Lucy Lawless even got involved in the protest actions early this year. The Greenpeace activist boarded an oil-drilling ship to air her protest with other Greenpeace activists. They refused to disembark until authorities came in.
Looking for support the wrong way
In its Arctic Ready website, Greenpeace made it appear that Shell had launched an ad contest to promote its Arctic exploration efforts. As it expected, Greenpeace drew a lot of flak for the giant oil firm.
The hoaxed promo, in which an ad generator is featured for users to create "Let's Go-Arctic Ready" ads, states that "the best ads will be printed and posted in strategic locations worldwide."
"With your help, we at Shell can tell the world how pumped we are about Arctic energy, and take the Arctic Ready message to Arctic-enthused drivers everywhere," arcticready.com said.
Ad assumptions and foresight
According to Greenpeace, Shell sees the melting Arctic as an opportunity to "achieve a sustainable approach to energy production." The mock promotion designers had the foresight as to the outcome of its own campaign.
The fake contest features an ad generator, which gives "contest participants" a selection of a few images. After an image is selected, a slogan will be entered. Each slogan would then be automatically followed by the catchphrase "Let's go."
Here are some of the sample "entries" all in default uppercase:
"Birds are like sponges... for oil! Let's go."
"Once upon a time, our home was clean and beautiful. Then Shell said let's go."
"If we monitor our drills like we do our websites, we're gonna be fine. Let's go."
Social Media Advertising: Lessons Learned from Greenpeace
Greenpeace engaged the right people. The organization's campaign drew a lot of attention because it was well-planned. It had the foresight on people's perception of the fake contest. The anti-Shell slogans seemed to have been submitted anonymously, hence, the plausible sentiments.
It did seem that no one monitored the "campaign." The ad generator was not programmed such that entries would not be instantly published. Submitted entries were designed to go live instantly.
As a result, Greenpeace did not only gather several protest statements against Shell. It was successful in making it appear that Shell was not smartly overseeing its campaign.
As of this writing, the fake ad generator in the Greenpeace hoax campaign is no longer working.
Click 'Start' to see the fake 'Let's Go' ads that Greenpeace has gathered.