What appears at first to a publicity campaign gone awry for Shell Canada, is actually the work of environmental activist group Greenpeace.

The site, currently online at arcticready.com, seems to show one of Canada’s largest oil companies hosting a social media campaign where users are asked to submit their own advertisements to be used by the company. The ads are all fiercely anti-Shell, though. Ads feature environmental images with slogans like “Turn the power on, it’s time to melt some ice.”

But the spoofers don’t stop there.

A Twitter account established under the @ArcticReady banner has also begun mocking the company. Using the oil company’s logo as a profile picture, the account is replying to critics with over-the-top anti-environmental banter.

A Facebook account was started earlier this month under the ArcticReady banner and, though it has limited activity, also appears tied to the campaign.

A blog post from Greenpeace reveals that they are the designers behind the website and the campaign.

“With help from the Yes Lab we built a special Arctic Ready website for Shell, which houses our new advertisements, plus a tool for you to create your own,” they wrote on the site.

A WHOIS lookup of the arcticready.com domain reveals that the domain was first registered on April 29 of this year, but the owner of the domain is hidden by a third party company called Privacy Post, which allows its clients to hide their domain name ownership behind its own wall.

From PrivacyPost.com’s website: “PrivacyPost offers participating registrars a completely private registration. This is done by providing our information in the WHOIS database, rather than yours.”

The page at arcticready.com is well designed to imitate Shell’s actual website. The sidebar on the left-hand side of the page even directs users to the appropriate page on Shell’s actual company website.

When contacted for comment, David Williams of Shell Canada said: “We use Facebook. We use Youtube. We’re active on social media but this campaign isn’t one of ours.”

Minutes later, a press release appeared on the company’s website denouncing the campaign.

“Journalists, blog readers and YouTube viewers have recently been targeted with scams launched by organizations opposed to energy exploration in Alaska.   A contest on a mock Shell website promotes the creation of fake advertisements,” the company said. “The advertising contest is not associated with Shell, and neither is the site it’s on.”

Check out a gallery of the top 10 spoof advertisements we’ve collected here.


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