Shell’s arctic campaign: snowball fighting with trolls

Shell recently had the well-meaning idea of asking the general internet population to create their next ad about arctic fuel sources.  Posting a meme template with images of the arctic, anyone can enter in ad copy and it is published on Shell’s website

Power on: Let’s melt some ice

On the surface it seems like a good idea.  Allowing customers to have a say in ad copy, in theory will encourage them to engage with the campaign, share it with their friends and feel a stronger sense of ownership in the campaign.  It also allows Shell to crowd source ideas for the campaign and get some constructive ideas about what consumers think about their brand.

Theory does not always predict action, particularly when it comes to online consumers.

Despite Shell’s best intentions, this campaign failed miserably. 

Their official campaign site was attacked by consumers who subverted the campaign message by posting ad copy rich with sarcasm and black humour.

Shell was either not prepared for or did not anticipate this possibility.  What should have been a democratic campaign, quickly turned into a running joke which went viral (even making it onto popular online humour site 9GAG).

Shell: Social Media Fail?

By running this campaign, Shell has likely done more damage to their brand among the general internet population.

In the short term it is an embarrassing social media gaff, but in the long term it may do lasting damage to their brand image as these consumer created, anti-brand images will likely remain on the internet for a long time.

As Shell’s campaign demonstrates, involving consumers in designing your ad campaign is not always a good idea.  It is also a reminder that online consumers can be funny, cruel and subversive in a short meme.

//Alec Schumann

About AnthonySchumann
Subtle Bravado // Creative Boutique. Ted Anthony - Vision Alec Schumann - Creative Follow @AnthonySchumann

One Response to Shell’s arctic campaign: snowball fighting with trolls

  1. Daniel says:

    Just letting you know this campaign was a spoof made by Greenpeace and The Yes Men.

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