So Greenpeace and the Yes Men made the Shell crowdsourced ad site that’s going around online. They also made June’s viral video of a woman getting sprayed by a mini oil rig; apparently Greenpeace rented out the top of the Space Needle just for a video that never topped a million views.
And now they, or their supporters, are making videos and mock Twitter feeds. They’re funny! And they’re either fantastic for environmentalism, or terrible for it, or both.
The ArcticReady YouTube account has a single video, a parody demonstration of how to cap an oil well:
— Arctic Ready (@arcticready) July 16, 2012
But the account is weak, constantly breaking character to defend users of the fake Arctic Ready site (including those who may not understand they’re participating in a hoax):
— Arctic Ready (@arcticready) June 21, 2012
Unless maybe they’re joking by saying “clean, safe Arctic energy”? In which case that’s not really a funny joke, because it muddies the point that Arctic oil energy can’t be clean or safe. Anyway, sloppy messaging.
Meanwhile @ShellIsPrepared is doing a better job at impersonating a terrible social media team:
So OK, that’s hilarious and spot-on! But maybe too hilarious and spot-on? Expand any tweet on the @ShellIsPrepared site and you’ll see people mocking it, thinking it’s real. This makes them look stupid.
— Ben Fields (@iambenfields) July 18, 2012
@shellisprepared You’re not really up-to-speed on how Twitter works, are you?
— Susskins (@Susskins) July 18, 2012
@shellisprepared What? You’re going to clean up the way people think about your company by pulling down parody? Oh that will work.
— enderFP (@enderFP) July 18, 2012
Meanwhile Shell has officially announced that they’re not behind any of the pranks, and that they haven’t taken any legal action about them.
Is this stunt really worth delegitimizing Shell opponents? Doesn’t this fallout suggest that people will believe anything that fits their anti-corporate biases, because people are stupid, and everyone should just let the adults handle things? Doesn’t this inadvertently reinforce the trust that conservatives have in big business by making liberals look like gullible fools and prankster kooks in comparison?
Yeah, probably. Sure is fun though! Wakka wakka #ShellFAIL! Merry pranksters! When the world goes to shit, we’ll have the best tweets about it!