With many companies still struggling to get to grips with the vicissitudes of the social media world, stories abound of brands that have tried and failed to harness the power of the people, finding that their good intentions were turned back on them with the full force of the Twitterati. I don’t even know what level of meta we are getting to then when a protest group creates its own fake social campaign meltdown, but that’s what’s happened with this extraordinary effort orchestrated by Greenpeace.
Leaving aside the complex debates over energy companies drilling in the Arctic, there’s no doubt this is a very powerful campaign from a purely creative perspective. The premise is that Shell invited visitors to their website to create their own adverts, only to be overrun with vituperative (and at times very funny) sabotages. Of course this didn’t actually happen and I’m sure the oil giant would be savvy enough to see the inherent potential for such a campaign to fail, but it’s still a hugely effective piece of propaganda with a very modern twist. It follows a spoof viral video released last week in what was heralded in some quarters as a new kind of protest.
It is worth pointing out that Shell refute the allegations made by the protest groups.