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By Walter Pierce
July 26, 2012

Shell Oil Co. has learned the hard way how effective social media can be — at not only spreading your message but at distorting it. Media outlets across the country including The Daily Advertiser and, yes, The Independent, reported on what appeared to be a Shell social media campaign gone terribly wrong. Turns out, environmental group Greenpeace was behind the stunt. And it worked to perfection. The group created a website, ArcticReady.com, that appeared to be a Shell site. Then it invited readers to add their own slogans to photos of pristine wilderness and arctic wildlife bearing the legend “Let’s Go.” The Let’s Go campaign generated thousands of submissions, most of them of the high snark variety: “End Polar Bear Attacks in Our Lifetime” (for a photo depicting polar bears), “Because You Can’t Afford to Visit Pristine Wilderness Anyway,” “Birds Are Like Sponges ... For Oil!” and “Narwhales Are the Unicorns of the Ocean. We Provide the Rainbows Via Oil Slicks.” The faux campaign was launched a month ago, but Greenpeace cleverly pumped new life into it last week through Twitter using the account name “ShellsPrepared.”

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