Activists in Washington, DC put these posters up around town to call attention to Chevron's attempts to greenwash its image even while ignoring its toxic legacy in Ecuador.
Chevron rolled out a fancy new ad campaign yesterday, and we were ready for them. We had only a fraction of Chevron’s budget — the company won’t say how much it spent this time around, but typically spends as much as $90 million on an ad campaign like this — but we had the element of surprise, and we were determined to press our advantage. So before Chevron’s press release announcing its “We Agree” campaign could hit reporters’ inboxes, we sent out a press release of our own on their behalf. The company’s own press release was guaranteed to be full of greenwash. We wanted ours to be a bit more truthful. It featured quotes from real employees, but in this case they were describing the “We Agree” campaign we’d like to see:
"Chevron is making a clean break from the past by taking direct responsibility for our own actions," said Rhonda Zygocki, Chevron vice president of Policy, Government and Public Affairs. "Oil Companies Should Clean Up Their Messes," reads one ad; the small print refers candidly to the damage done by oil companies around the world. "For decades, oil companies like ours have worked in disadvantaged areas, influencing policy in order to do there what we can't do at home. It's time this changed." Another ad, "Oil Companies Should Fix The Problems They Create," is just as topical. "Extracting oil from the Earth is a risky process, and mistakes do happen. It’s easy to pass the blame or ignore the mistakes we’ve made. Instead, we need to face them head on, accept our financial and environmental responsibilities, and fund new technologies to avoid these mistakes in the future."
Of course, before we sent out our press release, we put together a spoof website and a fake press page. Some reporters got fooled by our spoof. Others managed to figure out it was a parody before they published their piece, but even still, we’d managed to derail much of the press about Chevron’s pricey new PR effort. Several pieces highlighted our spoof campaign instead of the real Chevron campaign. Here’s a couple examples:
- Reuters: Hoaxers target new Chevron advertising campaign
- NYT: Pranksters Lampoon Chevron Ad Campaign
- San Francisco Business Times: Protesters spoof Chevron ad campaign
Do you agree that Chevron should clean up its messes rather than spend as much as $90 million on a fancy ad campaign? Then it’s your turn to punk Chevron. Sign up for our Street Teams now and help us spread the spoof ads far and wide!