Oil giant Shell was on the receiving end of an elaborate hoax fueled by Greenpeace, which was created to look like a Shell PR campaign gone wrong. The site “Arctic Ready” promotes the “opportunities” afforded Shell by the melting arctic ice.
Greenpeace released a statement taking credit for the hoax, explaining it in the following manner:
For the past few months we’ve been working with the Yes Lab to design an entirely positive, enthusiastic campaign for Arctic drilling. We’re using Shell’s actual advertising slogan – Let’s Go – to tell it like it really is. If you’re ignoring scientists and trampling over the natural world to make billions in profit, why hide it? Ignoring the greatest threat that humanity has ever faced to boost your quarterly results? Let’s Go!
The “campaign” asked for readers to design their own ads, from which a winner would be chosen. The gallery from this “contest” had only anti-Shell ads, but retained the look of an official Shell web page. The campaign also has an accompanying Twitter account (@shellisprepared) named “Social Media Team” which urged users not to share libelous ads from their campaign. Many users believed this was a real Shell account.
A whois inquiry shows us that arcticready.com was created on April 29, 2012, confirming that this hoax has been at least a couple of months in the making. It very similar visually to the real Shell website.
The arcticready.com website portrays itself as Shell promoting arctic drilling. It contains the following text:
For hundreds of years, explorers have battled the Arctic.
Today, we’re finally winning.
We’ve all heard about global climate change and the challenges it brings, especially to the most vulnerable among us.
For example, 300,000 people already perish each year from climate-change-related causes, mostly in the world’s poorest areas, according to the foundation of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. And evidence suggests that further disruption of our planet’s delicate climate could well result in incredibly dire consequences.
We at Shell are as concerned about this as everyone else. But we also recognize that even the most vulnerable need ever-growing fossil fuel resources for their travel, leisure, scientific, and infrastructure expansion needs, and that all of us, no matter where we live, need to explore every alternative at our disposal in order to one day have the hope of achieving a balanced, sustainable approach to energy production—let alone to deal with the potential consequences of climate change.
That’s why we at Shell are committed to not only recognize the challenges that climate change brings, but to take advantage of its tremendous opportunities. And what’s the biggest opportunity we’ve got today? The melting Arctic.
The hoax was bolstered by a story this week regarding a Shell ship which slipped its mooring and drifted close to one of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, raising the arctic drilling debate further.
The hoax website was accompanied this week by a lawsuit filed by Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and others in an attempt to fight arctic drilling by Shell. As of this writing, it has been reported that Shell is not taking legal action against Greenpeace.
What do you think of this hoax? Does Shell deserve it, or has Greenpeace crossed the line?
Filed under: Hoaxes & Rumors