Yes Men take on Shell in ad campaign hoax

It isn’t the first time the pranksters have been caught poking fun at giant corporations

Arcticready.com home page

A new Shell website has popped up, called Arctic Ready, promoting drilling for oil in the Arctic, and a new slogan: “Let’s go.” If it sounds fishy, that’s because it is—it appears that the site is actually an elaborate hoax.

The ad campaign was actually created by the Yes Men, an international organization of corporate pranksters who often imitate with the intention of humiliating giant corporations.

The website is in typical Yes Men form: it looks 100 per cent legitimate on the surface, from the logos to the contact information, but on closer inspection, it’s a sharp take-down of Shell and pro-drilling language.

“For hundreds of years, explorers have battled the Arctic,” the website’s homepage says. “Today, we’re finally winning.”

The site promotes Shell’s new Let’s Go! Arctic campaign, complete with tone deaf arctic-energy ads. They’d be tragic if they were actually coming from Shell, but since they’re not, they’re just funny.

Take, for example, one shot of a running Arctic fox with the slogan, “You can’t run your SUV on ‘cute.’ Let’s go.” There’s also an image of the sinking Titanic captioned with, “Never again,” promoting the melting of even more polar ice.

And if your kids want to learn more about the bad polar ice, there’s a game for them to play.

The site also encourages the public to take part in an ad contest to make the best Arctic-energy ads. The best ones, they claim, will be printed and posted offline.

This is certainly not the first time that the Yes Men have created elaborate hoaxes and almost gotten away with it. In 2007, two supposed ExxonMobil representatives, analyst for the Washington-based National Petroleum Council “S.K. Wolff,” and co-speaker “Florian Osenberg,” spoke at a keynote luncheon at Calgary’s Gas and Oil Exposition, a three day oil and gas trade show during the Calgary Stampede.

Once the duo started handing out candles supposedly made of the remains of Reggie Watts, a deceased ExxonMobil janitor, the audience realized they were being tricked.

Wolff and Osenberg are actually Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, two of the most well-known Yes Men members. They were prominently featured in the 2003 documentary, The Yes Men.

Bichlbaum and Bonanno didn’t even get the chance to show the memorial video made by Watts before they were ushered away by security.

Meanwhile, a parody fundraiser page on IndieGoGo in the same satirical vein as Yes Men’s work has popped up, asking for donations towards Minister Jason Kenney’s efforts to kick refugee claimants out of Canada.

“As Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, I recently tabled a bold new plan that would pay failed/bogus refugee claimants a small lump sum of cash ($2,000) to forget their rights to an appeal and leave the country voluntarily,” the page says under the guise of Kenney’s name. “That’s why I’m asking that Canadians show their support for me, Jason Kenney, and this innovative program by donating a few dollars of their own hard-earned money to help pay bogus refugees to leave the country.”

The fundraiser has yet to make a single dollar. 




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Yes Men take on Shell in ad campaign hoax

  1. Gutted its a fake site! Ship in the drills!

  2. Macleans appears to be (justifiably) dying a slow death. The second most-read article on the site has a grand total of one comment (before this one). Most of the news stories are regurgiated Tweets. They send me a free issue a couple of times a year (two weeks after it appears on the newstand), in an attempt to lure me back as a subscriber. The only articles that do draw any number of comments are the ones by political junkies for political junkies, who seem to regard that HOC as mere entertainment, rather than the crucial forum for debating the future of the nation. I think its safe to say that the alternative media has won.

    • Sadly, I must agree with you. Until it becomes relevant Mcleans will no longer getting my subscription dollars either.

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