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Culture-jamming Activists Prank Shell at Corporate Event


June 10, 2012
The Yes Men & Greenpeace & the Occupy Movement

Greenpeace, the Yes Lab, and members of the Occupy movement are claiming responsibility for a set of actions that have focused intense attention on Shell's Arctic drilling program. The centerpiece of the action was a lavish party in the Space Needle, in which a model of an Arctic-bound oil rig "accidentally" spewed liquid in the face of the rig designer's "widow" (84-year-old Occupy activist Dorli Rainey). To Shell's embarrassment, the stunt quickly went viral.

http://www.yeslab.org/shellfail-exposed

The Yes Men Party for Shell
A Note from Dorli Rainey

Hello friends, this was a marvelous event to make sure people know about the Arctic drilling platform that is sitting right out there on our waterfront in the Duwamish area ready to start the trip to the Arctic Reserve. And to make it really good, occupyseattle was represented by three of us. I am just sorry that the rum and coke spray stream was not really very visible.






#ShellFAIL Exposed
Arcticready or #Shellfail? Shell's Climate Disaster Gets a Rehearsal

Andy Bichlbaum / The Yes Men

SEATTLE (June 8 2012) -- Greenpeace, the Yes Lab, and members of the Occupy movement are claiming responsibility for a set of actions that have focused intense attention on Shell's Arctic drilling program.

"This experience shows that a few energized people can compete with the billions that Shell spends on advertising and lobbying," said James Turner from Greenpeace, who posed as an advertising executive at the event. "As people find out how this oil company is exploiting global warming to cause yet more global warming, thus endangering everyone, they won't allow it, no matter how many billions Shell has in its war chest."

The centerpiece of the action was a lavish party in the Space Needle, in which a model of an Arctic-bound oil rig "accidentally" spewed liquid in the face of the rig designer's "widow" -- actually 84-year-old Occupy activist Dorli Rainey, well known for having been brutally pepper-sprayed in the face by Seattle Police during Occupy protests last fall.

A one-minute video of that "malfunction," shot by Occupy "infiltrator" Logan Price, quickly reached the top spot on Reddit and the #2 spot on Youtube, with a half-million views in less than 24 hours.

"We know that climate change is putting the entire planet at risk," said Rainey. "It's our duty to stop companies like Shell from using fossil fuels as a lethal weapon -- even if it means being sprayed again and again in the face."

As Shell denied, with disappointing blandness, having had anything to do with the party or the "malfunction," the Yes Lab sent out a press release on Shell's behalf, threatening anyone who reposted the video and attacking also the activists' brand-new ArcticReady.com website, which includes a social media ad generator and a dangerously addictive children's video game called Angry Bergs. The fake Shell release generated additional media coverage.

Earlier this year, Shell obtained a legal injunction stopping any Greenpeace activist from coming within 1km of any Shell vessel. To thank the company, Greenpeace teamed up with the Yes Lab to plan a promotional advertising campaign for Shell's Arctic drilling efforts, which Shell prefers to keep quiet. Besides the ill-fated ceremony and the website, the campaign includes a number of other elements that will shadow Shell's summer Arctic destruction campaign.

The device which sprayed Rainey's face was a model of Shell's drill rig, the Kulluk, which is set to soon depart Seattle for the Arctic. The Kulluk was built in 1983 by Mitsui, the same company that, two decades later, built the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon. Earlier this year, Mitsui paid out $90 million to the U.S. for its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

"What Shell is preparing to do in the Arctic is the height of obscenity," said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Lab. "We've got to do everything we possibly can to draw attention to this unfolding disaster, and more importantly we've got to stop it."

"The melting Arctic is becoming a defining environmental issue of our era, and this campaign is just a taste of what's to come," said Turner.

(Note: As of this writing, some major news sources are still posting information from the fake Shell press release. The Yes Lab's intention is not to allow misinformation to linger.)

Contact:
James Turner, Greenpeace, james.turner@greenpeace.org, 415-812-1142
The Yes Lab, info@yeslab.org


Behind the Stunt:
The "Rehearsal" Video




Shell's Arctic Oil Drilling Launch Party Was Literally a Disaster (UPDATED)
Brian Merchant / TreeHugger

(June 7, 2012 ) -- Shell's Arctic Oil Drilling Launch Party Was Actually a Hoax: See update at bottom of the post for what we know about who pranked Shell, and Shell's reaction and threat of legal action against the perpetrators. 4:41pm EDT: Apparently even the threat of lawsuit is a hoax, AdAge reports.

Here's what we originally wrote:
After spending $4 billion and countless man-hours lobbying to be the first to drill in the Arctic, Shell is gearing up to head north. As in, right now. The oil giant plans to start drilling wells off Alaska's northern shores by July. And apparently Shell's in quite the celebratory mood.

Yesterday, the company threw a private party in Seattle's Space Needle -- close to where its northbound rig is docked -- to commemorate the launch of its North Arctic drilling operations. But if the events that unfolded last night are any kind of a portent, said drilling operations could easily be a colossal mess.

Occupy Seattle has a post up documenting a very bizarre party fail, thanks to Logan Price, an activist who managed to sneak himself onto the guest list.

Once there, he tweeted pics from inside and caught some truly embarrassing moments on video before getting kicked out. Logan says that just before he was expelled, Shell's party was already going badly wrong, with screaming arguments, an overturned table, and frazzled guests evacuating in droves from the Seattle landmark.

Via Occupy:
It all started with a malfunction.... of the event's centerpiece, a scale model of the Kulluk, one of the rigs heading up north, which was sitting in a basin of liquor (rum and coke?) next to an ice sculpture in the shape of an iceberg.

Logan goes on to say:
I guess the photo-op was meant to be a symbolic tapping of the Arctic. There was a ridiculous three-foot-high scale model of their Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, and the mini-rig had a tap to pump liquor for the guests.

The guest of honor was an elderly Japanese man introduced as the original Chief Engineer of the Kulluk rig who used to work at Mitsui back in the '80s. But when the man went to turn on the ‘rig,’ the liquor went everywhere - and the first to be hit was another elderly guest, the widow of the man who'd actually designed the Kulluk back in the 1980s.

The guy in charge kept asking the old engineer to fix it but he obviously had no idea how to turn it off. Shell's PR people got REALLY worked up, and the designer’s widow started yelling. At this point the guy who was presenting the new ad campaign told me to turn off my camera and got pretty aggressive.

Everything about this is, quite frankly, hilarious. Beyond any satisfaction gleaned from seeing such a preposterous party come to a disastrous end, metaphors abound, and they're about as subtle as a sledgehammer: if Shell can't even handle a three-foot replica of a rig that pumps booze, how is the company going to fare in the Arctic deep?

UPDATE: Some things are too funny to be factually true, even if true in essence (considering statements from the head of the Coast Guard on how we have no way of effectively cleaning up offshore oil spills in the Arctic). Unknown pranksters, presumably The Yes Men, are actually behind the event and video embedded above.
Gothamist sums up what's known so far:

The main proof that this is a hoax comes from the website of Wainwright & Shore, "a full service, integrated marketing public relations and interactive firm" supposedly based in Houston, Texas. Wainwright & Shore boasts "The company donates more than 300 hours of pro bono services to non-profit clients each year."

But according to the whois records, the domain was registered just last month. And the clincher: The domain name server is Mayfirst.org, a lefty-radical hosting company which was also used by notorious pranksters the Yes Men to host a fake Bank of America website back in April.

Shell The pranksters has have been quick to react, threatening legal action against whoever is behind the prank. From their the fake press release reacting to the event:
Lawyers operating on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell plc. (Shell) are considering formal action against unknown activists who staged a counterfeit campaign launch event at the Seattle Space Needle.

The groups released a stream of social media content which deliberately misrepresented the safety of Shell's drill rigs heading to the Arctic, and extensively violated Shell’s intellectual property rights.

Shell Alaska spokesperson Curtis Smith said in the same release, "We can confirm that this was not a Shell event. Activist groups are becoming increasingly desperate in their attempts to block our federally approved right to drill in the Arctic, and are resorting to ever more underhanded tactics."


Shell Threatens Activists
Shell considers legal action following launch of fictitious international campaign

AnotherYes Lab Hoax

Lawyers operating on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell plc. (Shell) are considering formal action against unknown activists who staged a counterfeit campaign launch event at the Seattle Space Needle.

The groups released a stream of social media content, with the defamatory hashtag #shellfail, which deliberately misrepresents the safety of Shell's drill rigs heading to the Arctic, and extensively violated Shell’s intellectual property rights.

Shell is monitoring the spread of potentially defamatory material on the internet and reporters are advised to avoid publishing such material.

These activists' tactics stand in marked contrast to Shell's transparency regarding the safety of Shell's Arctic efforts. Earlier this week, Shell hosted Alaskan Governor Sean Parnell and Senator Lisa Murkowski on a safety tour of the Kulluk rig, during which the Senator and Governor were soundly impressed by the Kulluk's cutting-edge safety mechanisms.

"We can confirm that this was not a Shell event. Activist groups are becoming increasingly desperate in their attempts to block our federally approved right to drill in the Arctic, and are resorting to ever more underhanded tactics," said Curtis Smith, Shell Alaska Spokesman.

"These individuals choose to focus on the safety record of the rigs going to the Arctic, but there have been no accidents involving either vessel and both have been extensively upgraded in a recent $150 million overhaul. We stand confidently behind these measures, which is why we have gone beyond the federally-mandated liability cap of $75 million and have established a $12 billion escrow fund to mitigate any potential risks. Despite this deliberate attempt to frighten the public, it is clear and obvious that Shell takes safety extremely seriously."

Journalists are also warned about a counterfeit website and European billboard campaign launched by the activists. The website, at www.ArcticReady.com, includes fake Let's Go ads, a "Let's Go Ad Generator," and a children's game.

"These people have gone to great lengths to mislead the public about the age and reliability of our Arctic vessels, and otherwise damage Shell's credibility," said Smith. "Shell can obviously not allow this sort of misinformation to proliferate, and we are taking the firmest legal measures against the perpetrators of this campaign."

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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