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May 1 2007

What is *up* with Shell Oil?!? They’re running a million ads on TV and in every magazine I subscribe to. These ads are not trying to sell us their products, but an attitude. (I guess the word for it is “propaganda”.)

For instance, there’s one ad that says “Say No to No” which basically just says that optimism is always right and pessimism is always wrong. (An actual quote “Isn’t it high time someone got negative about negativity?” My response: Some things are worth being negative about: DDT, Apartheid, crystal meth, etc.) Obviously, they are referring to people who are worried about an energy crisis. People who are saying we should conserve. Shell seems to be saying "Say Yes to Unlimited Consumption" (which amounts to the same thing as "say no to sensibility, say no to conservation, say no to alternatives, ....").

They’ve got a TV commercial in which this Dutch Shell scientist admits that we’re running out of oil and is trying to figure out what to do about building new oil rigs. (Okay, Shells gets a few brownie points for at least mentioning this problem in their ad.) Then he’s in a restaurant with his teenage son who drinks the last bits of shake out of his glass by spinning his straw around. The scientist has a moment of brilliance and realizes THIS is how he can get the last bits of oil out of the ocean as well!

We’re supposed to be so happy, and so supportive of Shell Oil for being so brilliant, and...

WAIT! I’m sorry for being negative here but...STOP!! Don’t get the last bits of oil out of the ocean, Mr. Dutch Shell Scientist!!!!! We might need it for something later. Something more important than another year of SUVs and Reality TV and fast food containers piled high in the garbage dumps. STOP!

What is Shell up to? Are they about to tell us some really bad news and they want us to like them first? Are they trying to build up enough good will that they can do something awful like destroy the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge?

Or do they know that we’re really down to the very last bit of oil and think that the best thing they can use it for is one final PR blitz?!?

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