For the past few days, people have been amazed by the marketing blunder committed by Shell when they launched their Arctic Ready website, looking for users to create their own ads with slogans to promote arctic drilling. The ad generator tool was, naturally, overtaken by environmental activists and general ‘internet trolls‘ alike to make Shell aware at how ridiculous the idea was.
And rightfully so – check out Arctic Ready’s About Us description:
Shell’s Let’s Go! Arctic campaign comes after exhaustive market research, in which we found out that people like straight talk about oil, and that what they prize most is honesty and enthusiasm about the challenges in obtaining it, with sensitivity to environmental and cultural ramifications riding a distant second.
With the Let’s Go! Arctic campaign, therefore, we have stressed the excitement of working in distant frontiers, in some of the most dangerous conditions known or unknown to Man, and depending for survival not so much on the cutting-edge quality of our equipment, as on the sharpness of our wits. We have also insisted on communicating some of the ways we can minimize risks to environment and culture, without ever compromising our safety.
Another thing our research has found is that people prefer certainty to mere possibility; a bird in the hand, after all, is worth two in the bush (or the snow, as the case may be). So while climate change is a serious thing, and its effects, as scientists say, could wipe out a large chunk of humanity, such outcomes are a mere possibility—whereas the benefits from oil extraction are acertainty. Not only does oil certainly permit our civilization to continue, it is also certain that it could be used to help us transition to clean fuels, not to mention rebuild our infrastructure should climate disaster strike.