Marketing July 31, 2012 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,401 Reads share

Shell’s Arctic Ready Campaign: Epic Social Media Fail?

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If you go to the

A company’s worst nightmare right? An attempt to engage your audience by encouraging user generated content gone horribly wrong!

So what happens next? Go see what the company is saying on Twitter of course!

Related: What Can Kellogg’s QR Code Campaign Teach Us About Marketing?

Shell’s social media team on Twitter

On Twitter we find the @ShellisPrepared account which states that it is Shell’s social media team. On it are a string of tweets saying that Shell doesn’t endorse these ads and are working to take them down.

There are also numerous tweets insisting on the authenticity of the account. It appears, upon reviewing the tweets, that the social media team is in fact maintained by temps and interns who are clueless as to how to stop the tide of negative user generated content…

On return to the Arctic Ready site we see more ads with captions pointing out how the Shell marketing team is failing at their jobs to keep on top of the situation …

So all in all it looks to be an absolutely epic failure of a social media campaign, one which colleges will use as a case studies to prompt students to figure out what Shell should have done when things started to go south.

Related: Beware The Promoted Tweet: Hashtags Gone Wrong!

However all is not what it seems …

The above co-ordinated campaign is not a failure at all, it is in fact a brilliantly executed and highly successful campaign run, not by Shell, but by Greenpeace, who have turned away from their hippy roots and taken a step into the online world in their fight against the major oil company.

Greenpeace have put together a well thought out online campaign which has resulted in a massive increase in online conversation and which has even been covered by major news corporations including Forbes, the Huffington Post and the Guardian.

Shell has announced that it does not plan to sue Greenpeace, most likely realising that legal action on their part would draw even more attention to the campaign.

So, what can we learn from Greenpeace?

Some advanced planning goes a long way towards the success of your campaign. If you are going to run an online campaign, ensure that you display consistency across your platforms, as Greenpeace have done with both their parody website and parody Twitter account.

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Sarah Ryan

Sarah Ryan

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