Greenpeace Shell hoax turns into recurring PR nightmare on Twitter

Image from arcticready.comA hoax by environmental activist group Greenpeace has gotten new legs because of a Twitter account that appeared this week, targeting Shell Oil's activities in the Arctic.

The account @ShellisPrepared was meant to be the Twitter handle for Shell's "social media response team," but in reality, it's a parody account that is designed to draw attention to a two-month-old fake Shell website. @ShellisPrepared appears to be run by an inept social media manager, who retweets users and tells them not to share links to "inappropriate ads" generated using the Shell Let's Go Social ad creator.

In reality, the Let's Go Social ad generator isn't an official site created by Shell. While the Arctic Ready site looks quite legitimate with similar branding to the Shell website, it's actually a fake site created by anti-Shell groups Greenpeace and the Yes Men, Forbes reports. It's filled with fake headlines and unusable links.

Arctic Ready and Shell site screengrabs, via Forbes

Even thought the jig is pretty much up, @ShellisPrepared is sticking with the joke, continuing to reply to retweeters with threats of reporting them to Shell's legal department. In an attempt to continue looking like they are a legitimate — albeit incompetent — PR manager, the user continues to make it appear as if they are putting out corporate fires. Instead, the apparent PR blunder is generating more interest in the account, and more interest in the parody site.

When The Washington Post asked Shell for comment on the incident, they directed them to a previous statement about the original website hoax:

"Journalists, blog readers and YouTube viewers have recently been targeted with scams launched by organizations opposed to energy exploration in Alaska. The advertising contest is not associated with Shell, and neither is the site it's on. And shell did not file legal action in this matter. Our focus is on safely executing our operations."

The mention of YouTube was reference to a video of a fake event hosted by Greenpeace ahead of the departure of Shell's oil rigs from a Seattle port (another part of their campaign against Shell in the Arctic). This video was posted online, supposedly depicting the widow of an oil rig designer getting sprayed in a malfunction by the cola-dispensing ice sculpture. In reality, the woman hit with the cola stream is an 84-year-old Occupy activist: