Shell shock!

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Ah, another day, another Twitter controversy. Yesterday the joke was on Shell, as a good percentage of the Twittersphere lined up to mock its ‘arctic ready’ website and marvel at the live social media meltdown unfolding over on its @ShellisPrepared account.

Insensitive adverts, poorly-worded marketing copy and horrendously misjudged tweets, sparked questions like: “how could a massive corporation like Shell make such an epic mess of its communication?” Well the answer is – it didn’t. The whole thing was orchestrated by Greenpeace and notorious pranksters, The Yes Men. No stranger to lampooning large corporations, the duo has pulled off an incredibly elaborate smear campaign, complete with beautifully-designed spoof adverts and an uncannily realistic-looking website.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but while Shell’s crisis comms team is springs into action, surely this well-orchestrated campaign raises questions about social media, security and the need for brands – large or small – to proactively raise their profile? We all remember the PR catastrophe that was the Brent Spar saga. So, given Shell’s fractious history with Greenpeace, neutralising a negative campaign like this will require a carefully measured response. One thing’s for certain though, all eyes will be on Shell’s PR team to see how they handle this latest clean-up operation!