Anyone in the world of social media or Big Oil should be aware of the growing popularity of a crafty campaign being run by Greenpeace against Shell oil.
The site http://arcticready.com/ has gone viral especially in the “Let’s go Social” section where pictures of baby wolves, birds and polar bears have been captioned with anti-shell messages.
The revelation of the crisis
The Twitter profile says its being run by the Shell Social Media Team and that’s the personality that it’s taking in their engagements. The voice is that of a social media intern that has NO idea on how to stop the tweets from spreading. Starting off by Tweeting to anyone that was sharing the photos from the website to “please stop posting these images” It appeared that the general public was buying into this and thought this was an ACTUAL Shell marketing campaign that went wrong.
Because of the pretense of being a lowly intern managing the social media campaign for Shell, there was an obvious backlash and humorous commentary by the Twitterverse.
The pleading to stop sharing the content just lit a fire for people to share it more. This created a snow ball of retweets and new updates from people that were marveling in the campaign. Eventually Greenpeace took credit for the site. This is reminiscent of the viral campaign by BP public relations when the Gulf disaster happened.
Shell oil’s Official Twitter profile has not said anything about this campaign gone wrong.
This comes at an interesting time for me as I’m currently doing research on how to manage a social media crisis. Or better yet, how to prepare for one since managing a crisis like this is like trying to stop a freight train in motion. I do feel the burning ulcer of the shell marketing team but I cant help but be fascinated by the social scale that Greenpeace was able to lift this to.
How does a company prepare for this type of situation? Is it even possible?