In today’s New York Times there’s a Shell ad titled “LET’S DELIVER ENERGY FOR A CHANGING WORLD. LET’S GO.” I’m sorry, but is someone at Shell smoking crack? Here the whole world, or at least the whole Western Hemisphere, is fixated on BP’s tragic oil spill and Shell is getting jealous of all the attention their competition is getting?
In a post titled “Green Groups attack Shell’s national press ads” MarketingWeek quotes Greenpeace’s senior climate change advisor, Charlie Kronick: “At Shell’s AGM there were waves of satisfaction that they weren’t in BP’s position. BP is taking an almighty kicking, so this is an opportunity for [its rivals like Shell] to look good.”
An opportunity to look good? Is anyone at Shell watching the 24-hour beating BP is taking on CNN and MSNBC or are they too busy taking bong hits and high-fiving each other??!!
Look, I’ve got nothing against competitors taking advantage of someone else’s misfortune — plenty of great advertising campaigns have been built on that premise — but why would Shell want to wade into BP’s oily waters and risk being painted with the same greasy brush? There is an old public relations adage that says all PR is good PR but I’d argue there are times when it’s better to lay low and wait. After all, BP’s doing a pretty good job of destroying their reputation all by themselves, Shell doesn’t need to help.