Shell, the multinational oil firm, has come under fire for promoting gas usage among young audiences amidst the current environmental crisis after employing Fortnite for their marketing strategy. This move has sent waves of shock throughout society, considering the severity of global warming confirmed by climate scientists.
Climate Crisis Reality
As specified in a NASA document, around 97% of climate scientists actively publishing research have established that humans are responsible for global warming and drastic climate alterations. Our dependency on gas and other fossil fuels is unquestionably a major contributor to this urgent crisis.
The intensity of the situation is evident in various startling predictions regarding the next few decades. The tropics, coasts, and previously fertile lands are anticipated to become increasingly inhospitable to life, causing mass displacement of populations. This clearly underscores the significance of adopting eco-friendly habits in our everyday life.
In the face of this grim reality, it's hardly surprising that a 2021 survey discovered that a staggering 83% of individuals between the ages of 16 to 25 feel that mankind has "failed in its duty to protect the planet." Such sentiments, reflecting the growing awareness and concern about our environment, are widespread in this age group.
Shell's Controversial Campaign
Despite these prevailing sentiments of concern, Shell embarked on a marketing campaign via Fortnite and social media, seemingly to justify the continued use of gas. The company collaborated with Fortnite creators to propagate their new high-quality gas product with a scenario labeled 'Shell Ultimate Road Trips' within the game.
Participants in the Fortnite game were required to refuel at a Shell petrol station before setting off on their virtual journeys, and were also encouraged to share screenshots of their gameplay online. This tactic can be interpreted as Shell's deliberate attempt to influence the young gamers into developing a favourable attitude towards their brand and product.
The oil company also extended their campaign across various social media platforms, engaging well-known content creators as brand ambassadors. Shell reportedly collaborated with at least six Twitch streamers to help in the drive to promote the campaign. Although these influencers undoubtedly have substantial influence on their followers, the decision to promote gas usage in such a manner has ignited widespread controversy.
Backlash against Shell
Shell's attempt to align their brand with the younger demographic, however, has been largely met with critical views due to its apathy for the prevailing global situation. Critics argue that encouraging young people to use more gas flies in the face of global efforts to reduce fossil fuel usage and combat climate change.
One critic on Twitter, going by the handle emorwee, sarcastically commented on Shell's attempts, saying, "I am certainly connecting emotionally but perhaps not in the way Shell wants me to." Emphasizing the outpouring of adverse reactions against Shell's campaign, the critic indicated that the corporate giant's marketing attempt was unpalatable to the conscious public.
As part of the global effort to combat climate change, the International Energy Agency outlined a 'Net Zero Roadmap' aimed to make the world's energy sector carbon neutral and limit global warming to 1.5 °C. They also stressed that "no new long-lead-time upstream oil and gas projects are needed."
Shell’s Incongruent Stance on Climate Change
Despite the call for dwindling fossil fuel exploitation, Shell seems to be outlining its business trajectory in the opposite direction, intending to prioritize oil and gas while claiming to also support low-carbon endeavors with a lesser priority. This strategy has been met with criticism from climate advocates and concerned individuals alike, spanning a whole spectrum, from environmentalists to concerned parents.
Shell's decision to target the younger generation in promoting its campaign is a testament to the company's intent. With climate change considered as one of the most pressing issues of our time, this strategy risks not only our long-term environmental sustainability but also the wellness of future generations. The young galaxies of gamers and Fortnite fans, in particular, are becoming more conscious of these actions and are not afraid to critique such influential corporations.