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Shell faces PR heat from activists month after ‘Eco-marathon’ campaign to green image

The people vs Shell

Greenpeace activists scale Shell’s Arctic-bound rig

Oil giant Shell has been hit with a major publicity headache with the boarding of environmental activists on to an oil rig bound for the Arctic, just a month after the company ran its “Eco-marathon” campaign in Asia to green its image.

Six Greenpeace protesters climbed on board a Shell drilling rig in the Pacific ocean yesterday, where they unfolded a banner that read “The people Vs Shell” along with the names of millions of supporters who oppose Arctic oil exploration. Greenpeace wants the Arctic to be preserved as a global marine sanctuary.

Shell received the greenlight from the Obama administration to explore the Arctic for oil earlier this week, which prompted the response from Greenpeace, a long-time opponent to Shell’s plans to hunt for new oil reserves in Alaskan waters.

A Shell spokesman told Mumbrella: “We can confirm that protestors from Greenpeace have illegally boarded the Polar Pioneer, under contract to Shell, jeopardising not only the safety of the crew on board, but the protestors themselves.”

“Shell has met with organisations and individuals who oppose energy exploration offshore Alaska. We respect their views and value the dialogue. We will not, however, condone the illegal tactics employed by Greenpeace. Nor will we allow these stunts to distract from preparations underway to execute a safe and responsible exploration program.”

Shell’s PR is handled by Edelman. The company also works with J. Walter Thompson for creative, digital agency Possible, MediaCom for media and experiential firm Imagination.

Last month, Shell ran a campaign named Eco-marathon, a contest for fuel-efficient vehicles held in Manila, to push its green credentials.

Greenpeace has been campaigning against Shell hard in recent years, culture-jamming it’s Let’s Go campaign with a subversive version of its own.

Greenpeace's anti-Shell campaign

Greenpeace’s anti-Shell campaign

In 2013, the green group raised banners to protest against Shell’s Arctic activity at the winners ceremony for the Belgian Grand Prix, of which the Anglo-Dutch is a major sponsor.

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