Online pranksters target Shell's drilling plans

Greenpeace's latest attack on the company's Arctic drilling is a little too effective.

By Kim Peterson Jul 18, 2012 7:20PM
Credit: ©,
Caption: Screenshot of a user-generated ad mocking Shell from a website created by GreenpeaceRoyal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) has a problem on its hands: a little website that looks authentic and for weeks has called attention to the company's Arctic oil exploration plan.

The website, at, was expertly crafted to look like a Shell company site. But it doesn't take much investigating to realize there are hijinks afoot. The picture of a polar bear carrying the bloody head of a baby polar bear in its mouth might give a clue.

The site is an elaborate setup by Greenpeace, which has clearly learned that online protests can make more of an impact than some of its other methods. The site is funny, viral, and so effective that it keeps coming back to haunt Shell weeks after it was exposed as a Greenpeace stunt.

The centerpiece of the site is a fake ad generator that lets people add their own captions to photos of the Arctic (the ad generator appears to be down now). You can see the gallery here. The captions that people have added are harsh, and sometimes hilarious. Here are some examples:
  • Birds are like sponges... for oil!
  • We'd drill a crippled orphan's spine if there was some oil in it.
  • Because you can't afford to visit pristine wilderness anyway.
  • End polar bear attacks in our lifetime.
  • This fox will murder you unless we kill it first.
  • Because your gas should come from someplace beautiful.

Shell clearly wants all of this to go away -- so much so that it said it won't take legal action against Greenpeace. The company is looking to launch its first offshore Arctic drilling in two decades, and continues to be hammered by environmental groups as a result

Greenpeace also used Twitter to help its site go viral, creating a fake Shell account that pretended to be panicking as user ads were created. "Our team is working overtime to remove inappropriate ads," tweeted the @ShellisPrepared account. "Please stop sharing them."

That only got more attention as people fell for the joke.

Are we seeing a new era in corporate protests? The Occupy Wall Street movement effectively used social media and the Internet to spread its message, and Greenpeace has taken the idea a step further with its elaborate viral joke.

Who's next?

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Tags: RDS
Jul 18, 2012 11:38PM
I live up here and most people in the lower 48 don't have a clue about Alaska, just what some bunny hugger wants you to think. Think outside the box. If you will give up your car, gas, oil, furniture, carpet, paint for your house, roof covering, electricity for your home, Iphone, Ipad, computer, airconditioning, oh and your heat. most packaging of any kind, and most of any manufactured goods that you currently used then you can say to the world you are against oil. If you won't give ALL of these thing up then SHUT THE FU** UP.
Jul 18, 2012 10:58PM
Eventually the few remaining private oil companies will be driven out of existence and state oil companies will rule. I don't think you'll find the Russians and Chinese play nice.
Jul 19, 2012 2:45AM
Greenpeace are the most hyocritical people on earth. When they came to Alaska on their Greenpeace boat which by the way takes oil to run, filled our pristine skies with a thick black smoke, chocking us all in the process. Then a day later their crappy boat started to leak oil into our bay polluting our waters which happened to be at the same time the humpback whales were coming back through the Tongass Narrows with their babies. I LOVE the fact that they condemn people for drilling the while THEY use boats that pollute -WITH OIL our waters and skies. But do you think they will tell you all that? Oh h*ll no! And this has happened quite a few times. They make me sick!!
Jul 18, 2012 11:12PM

Greenpeace is a bunch of outlaws that commit crimes against people doing what

is legal. If they attack my ship, I'd blow them out of the water.

Jul 18, 2012 11:18PM
greenpeace is a bunch of idiots treehuggers,they go to the extent of causing damage to other peoples property then wine when one of them gets hurt or takes you to court to justify there actions.glad theres people that try to protect enviroment but these guys are over the top.i think they need some of there idiots to end up in prisonthen they can really protect the bush.
Jul 19, 2012 12:41AM
So this is what the college kids that can't get jobs do
Jul 19, 2012 1:14AM
if the radical left wing environmentalists hadnt had their way for so many years past,we woudnt have the problems today of relying 2 much on foreign oil if we would of been allowed 2 drill more here in the u.s.a. then,there would of been more jobs,the price of gas wouldnt b so high,and the economy would b in better shape. 
Jul 19, 2012 11:24AM
Greenpeace.   How clever.  But you know what?  I don't see any of these folks riding around on donkeys.   Oh, hell no.   They drive motor vehicles powered by petroleum.  What's that, electric cars?  Mea culpa.   Gee, I forgot.  And so do they apparently.   They power up those contraptions at home using electricity.   But wait.   Am I wrong?   Doesn't that electricity come from power plants run on nuclear, coal, oil, or gas?  Why, surely those folks could not be hypocrites.   Or could they?    
Jul 19, 2012 8:27AM
My thoughts are either sink their stinking ships or Shell should sue the crap out of them but Shell has a image to protect
Jul 19, 2012 5:53AM
internet hate crime almost  i m  thinking
Jul 19, 2012 12:32PM
A) Greenpeace doesn't practice what they preach.
B) Shell should sue for as many reasons as they can, and get an injunction against Greenpeace     having any computer activity.
C) The Feds should charge the members responsible with wire fraud, or whatever fraud is appropriate.
D) All organization accounts should be frozen until they can be awarded to Shell, or an organization NOT connected with Greenpeace, which helps rescue animals from spills.E) If I was operating a ship, and a vessel owned or operated by Greenpeace was harassing me by cutting close across my bow, I would Stockholm them. No survivers would be picked up.

Jul 19, 2012 11:16AM

Greenpeace? It is Greenwar. They hate anybody or anything they choose. I am so tired of people breaking and bending the law in the name of the environment. How stupid can they be? Their cause has been hijacked by poor countries in order to tax the producers and give it to the non producers. Nobody really believes in global warming do they? I guess our planet is going to become another Venus. Yeah right. What stupid morons. I guess the people of Venus went through the industrial revolution just a little before us and screwed up their planet.

Jul 19, 2012 12:51PM
Greenpeace tried to recruit me at a grocery store. Most aggressive and deceitful solicitors I've ever seen. Tried to lie about how much I needed to donate for a tax deduction, tried to get my CC information on the spot. For an organization that aspires to save our environment, they sure have a funny way about doing it.
Jul 19, 2012 1:02PM
Improper intererence with somebody's business is a tort and can lead to civil litigation should there be damages.  Shell has the resources to pursue anybody anywhere to the very end.  The question is do they have the balls to go after Greenpeace, because of the adverse public relations that would involve.  I say yes.  Greenpeace uses tactics that we should all question, even if we agree with their goal.   As a Royal Dutch Shell shareholder, I would urge management to protect the company against these people.
Jul 19, 2012 1:20PM
Freaking Liberal Tree-Huggers!  For many of these godless folks, this is their religion (cult). 
Jul 19, 2012 8:44AM
The truth is that we really "do" need to start paying attention to our impact on the natural world. At no time in our history has that been more important. Today's generation is completely connected to a Smart Phone and totally "disconnected" from the "actual" world around them, just what does that say about our future? I would not suggest leaving the decisions about our future to a multi-billion dollar Oil industry or politicians that are in their pockets (that has bad idea written all over it).  Its about time we have the backbone to stand up four the health of the planet we share with each other and wildlife. Scientists and many other very smart folks around the entire planet are stating climate change is not only very real, but a very serious threat to Agriculture (to be clear, that's food to our families). The potential for a Methane Hydrate release in the Artic is not only real but already occurring. Search on Google and judge for yourself. At the most basic and fundamental level, we need to start taking our children into the forest and teaching them about the actual world around them so maybe the future generation will be better stewards of the Earth then the current one...

Warmest  wishes,
Mark Fraser

Jul 19, 2012 10:30AM
There are two much better & much cleaner sources of energy, natural gas & magnetically-driven electrical energy for home & automobiles! Why do we have to destroy our environment?
Jul 19, 2012 10:44AM

Inaccurate reporting.  Initially, Shell was foolish enough to launch a slogan contest on its own site, resulting in these responses.  The responses were captured and posted to before Shell removed the contest from its own site.


I've always considered Shell to be "second to least evil" of the major oil companies (Citgo being least evil), but their plan to destroy the Arctic wilderness deserves this type of response, and their poor decisions and poor website management provided an ideal opportunity to spread the message.


Spill baby spill.


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