The oil behemoth Chevron has owned up to its mistakes. At least that’s what the Yes Men want you to believe.
Yesterday morning Chevron released an elaborate ad campaign aimed to reshape its image as a company conscious of both the environment and humanity. It features banners stating claims like, “Oil companies should support the companies they’re part of,” and “Oil companies need to get real,” complete with elaborately-produced films that illustrate how Chevron is “getting real” and “supporting small businesses.”
Hours before the campaign launched, however, the Yes Men launched a spoof campaign that looked eerily similar. The Yes Men—a group of activists that raises awareness of corporate fraud through some pretty hilarious pranks—teamed up with the Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch to create chevron-weagree.com. The site, eerily resembling the official one, features admittances of guilt from Chevron executives and banner statements like “Oil companies should clean up their messes,” and “Oil companies should fix the problems they create.”
The Yes Men led many to believe Chevron had followed Dominoes, shamelessly admitting its past sloppiness. Some publications, including Fast Company Magazine, mistook the prank for the official campaign.
Once news organizations discovered the spoof, The Rainforest Action Network stated,
“When it comes to oil spills, climate change and human rights abuses, we need real action from Chevron. Instead, the oil giant has prioritized a high-priced glossy advertising campaign that attempts to trick the American people into believing it is different than BP.”
Beyond exposing the craftiness of the Yes Men, the Chevron spoof reveals how the Internet offers an inventive, maybe even more effective forum for protesting. Who wants to picket in the cold in front of a few hundred people when you can defile a company in front of millions from the comfort of your bedroom?