After Chevron's PR disaster, RAN, AmazonWatch and the Yes Men decided to push it further, and to let the public do some advertising for Chevron about their whole Ecuador problem. The result? Thousands and thousands of fabulous ads that swamped the internet.
And here, for "historical" interest (or if you want to try this at home, are the emails we blasted out to get people making and then wheatpasting ads. (The former worked; the latter, not so much.)
Don't even try to click on the dozens of links, of which... three? are still working. What were we thinking.
Now "hiring" ad-rippers, video-wizards, wheatpasters!
Thanks to all who have submitted print ads so far! We've been getting some great ones. Keep 'em coming, and make sure to twitter with #weagree. Entries will be posted next week.
If you saw our last press release, you'll know that in the last few days we have been working with Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Amazon Watch on a campaign that spoofs Chevron's idiotic new greenwashing campaign. It's been working: search on Chevron in the news and all you get is our spoof. $50 million spent to keep our eyes off Chevron's dirt... and it all just went down the drain!
Now it's time to make sure that "the era of greenwashing is over," as The Atlantic says, flatteringly but over-optimistically - by making sure the laughter doesn't stop.
If you're game, study Chevron's real "We Agree" campaign (the print version you can see in newspapers and soon on bus shelters, etc., and also on the web and on TV). Figure out the funniest mashups, image swaps, collages, rewrites, or remixes of their print, web, and/or TV productions. Mock them up, paste them up, post them up and send them on to email@example.com (by email, via a yousendit-type program, or what have you)! We'll put them on a new website next week and get that out to the press.
(New!) We're also calling for alterations of any “We Agree” ads in public places. If you see a “We Agree” poster or billboard, alter it and send us the photograph. Best alteration wins a prize! Also, help us create a “billboard alteration kit”—a readymade cut-out kit that users can simply download, print out, and go to work with.
And make sure to post whatever you do to your Facebook, and twitpic them with the hashtag #weagree. If you can, wheatpaste your posters around town, and twitpic photos of them with the same hashtag (#weagree).
The best ad gets a big prize, the best picture of an in-situ Chevron ad gets another, and I'm sure we'll be coming up with some other categories.
You might find this psd useful: www.theyesmen.org/etc/chevron/materials/CHEVeditfile.psd
Also, you’ll need this font: www.theyesmen.org/etc/chevron/materials/InterstateBoldCompressed_0.ttf
These files are compressed together here.
The Yes Men
Oh, and why not some crank callers too?
You’re hired! We’ve decided that you have all the skills required to make sure Chevron’s “We Agree” ad campaign is well and truly wrecked.
Here's your mission. You may have seen the 155 amazing, hilarious “We Agree” posters, that have gotten far more play in the news and online that Chevron’s own deranged ads. (If you haven’t submitted your own, there’s still time!)
It’s now time to take this a whole lot further, and wheat-paste your favorites everywhere. Everyone needs to wonder: “What's this whole Chevron thing about, anyhow?”
Click here for full instructions. We know this is a tall order, but as you know, it's important. And if one eight-foot giant could take over the world, surely all of us can! (Incidentally, there are awesome prizes for those who wheat-paste the most copies, as well as for those who figure out the coolest places to put up an ad.)
If nocturnal stealth and derring-do aren’t your style, here’s another way you can mess with Chevron, right from the comfort of your own home, or during your coffee break:
- Call or email Chevron. (See below. When you find other numbers that don't go to voicemail, please send them and we'll update this page!) Make sure to record your call.
- Chevron switchboard: 1-925-842-1000 or 1-925-218-3825.
- CEO Watson's secretary: 1-925-842-3232.
- CEO Watson's email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Send us your phone conversation or email correspondence. There will be prizes for different categories of funny: funny repartee, most heated funny, funny confusion, nonsensical funny, and longest exchange.
- The main point is to make something funny that people will share around widely. (It's also great to occupy a bunch of Chevron's time.) Here are just a few ideas foropeners for phone calls or emails, to get your creative juices flowing:
- “Hello Chevron, I’m a big shareholder. I saw your ad campaign plastered all over downtown, and I think it’s misguided. People don’t like Darth Vader, or chainsaw murder, or messing up foreign countries. Why would you brag about that?”
- “Dear Chevron: Your usage of the ‘Gollum’ character is an infringement of the rights of New Line Cinema. We hereby demand that you cease and desist from any and all misleading P.R. operations that involve the use of ‘Gollum’ or related trademarks. Yours truly, GreenbergTraurig, LLP”
- “Hi Chevron, I’m a 94-year-old grandmother from Plano, Texas, and I just wanted to say I don’t think your Hitler ad is really appropriate for small children.”
- “Dear Chevron: We commend you on your compassionate visual treatment of sea fowl. We can haz, indeed. Thanks.”
- “Hey Chevron! I love your new ad campaign. Would you consider making a ‘We Agree’ poster for [insert issue here]?”
- “My dearest Chevron: My church, acting as one, wish to commend you on your wonderful ad, ‘Oil Companies Should End The Wars They Helped Start.’ Your sentiment is noble, and the ad itself so very well conceived. May God bless you all.”
- “Dear Chevron, Thank you for pointing out that bicycles are no panacea. It is also very smart to point out that wind power has a few drawbacks. Best, Alternative Energy Watch, San Ramon Chapter”
- “Chevron: We wish to commend you for noting that although it is difficult to prove that God does not exist, this does not, nevertheless, prove that God does. You have some new fans at the Tuscaloosa County Atheist Association.”
- “Yo Chevron. As a longtime shareholder, I am appalled that you would equate money with the proverbial ‘middle finger’ expression.”
- “Dear Chevron: Your endorsement of Sarah Palin for President in 2012 does not fall on deaf ears. Just as Palin sees much from her windows, so we see Palin from ours. Best, Wasilla County GOP”
- “Chevron: I think your ad, ‘Corporate tanks stop for no one,’ sends the wrong message. That Chinese tank actually did stop for the man in the photo, at least briefly.”
Anyhow, you get the idea... Whether you choose to mess with Chevron in the streets or from your phone, let us know how it goes!
Note: With the newly-launched Yes Lab, the Yes Men are helping a number of activist groups launch projects around crucial issues. Soon, this will mean a lot more opportunities for you to be involved—whether locally, in a specific cool action in your city, or by joining forces with thousands of others in all kinds of different places to do something fun and important, like this. To make sure you get the right messages, please take a moment to update your profile at www.theyesmen.org/join.
Don't forget that wheatpasting please!
It's very simple, really - just go out and wheat-paste those improved Chevron ads wherever you can, and try to take pictures of each. Contest ends December 1, but we hope you keep it up indefinitely. (See also this for another, easier contest.)
Here's how it works, in more detail:
- Look at these ads: http://chevronthinkswerestupid.org/gallery. (See this for how this all came about.)
- Choose your favorite printable ones (with a little printer icon), and download and print, at any size and in any quantity. (You can of course make new ads instead of downloading ones that exist. Make sure to submit them to the contest if you do! If you’ve already submitted and you can send a higher-res version, please email it to us!)
- Go wheat-paste them up as far and wide as you can, and in as many cool locations as possible - see below. (Instructions on how to make and use wheat-paste can be found really easily:http://www.google.com/search?q=wheatpasting+how-to.)
- Points will be awarded by size and by coolness:
- Larger sizes will get more points. Stickers will get 1-2 points, 8.5”x11” sheets will get 3 points, billboards will get a huge number of points, etc.
- Cool locations will get more points. Like, if you manage to get an ad onto each pump at a Chevron gas station, or onto a podium while some oil industry wonk is holding forth, or onto the back of a real Chevron manager’s suit jacket while he’s not looking, or onto a board member’s house, or... you get the idea. But just getting them under a bridge is great too! (You might want to videotape your action - it might just make it into our next film, which is about shit like this.)
- Try to get an ad printed in your local paper - that counts as a really cool location! The sky’s the limit.
- Try to take a snapshot of each poster after you’ve pasted it up. Then:
- Just twitpic your photos with the hashtag #weagree and #wepaste, and send us an email telling us that you did, so that we have your email and can reward you when the time comes.
- If you have a lot of photos, or even if not, you can post all your photos to Flickr (http://flickr.com/) with the tag “wepaste”. Send us an email saying how many you postered, and how big they were, and Include the link to your “wepaste”-tagged Flickr page - e.g. http://www.flickr.com/photos/32574308@N06/tags/wepaste/
Now get to it!
Maybe wheatpaste teams just need leaders?
Do you live in the United States? Would you like to lead a postering team in your community, to wheat-paste some of these posters all over the place?
As you're probably aware, Chevron has been doing everything it can to avoid justice in Ecuador. They imagine they can cover up their crimes with slick PR campaigns. We think spreading these much-improved posters, making them visible on the street to the public at large (not just on the internet), could be one small step towards building the public pressure needed to force Chevron to compensate their many victims.
If you'd like to lead a postering team (and leaders is what it'll need, if it's to happen), please write to email@example.com by January 15th, and Linda from RAN will follow up with you directly. In your email, we'd love it if you could answer these questions:
- Have you organized folks before? If so, tell us about it. If not, that's okay, Linda will be more than happy to help you get going.
- Why do you want to lead activists in your community?
- Why do you want to get involved in this or other campaigns?
- Where do you live?
Also, please feel free to email with any questions, or call Linda at 415-659-0534.
Postering is only the very first step. This campaign will need to do a whole lot in the months ahead, and we'll need leaders to make that happen. Also, this step will help us identify potential leaders for future Yes Lab projects. Please consider becoming one!
It's really important that Chevron be held accountable for its pollution in Ecuador - that will send a message to all big corporations that they can no longer poison communities with impunity.
Your friends at the Yes Men and RAN
Note: This is mainly for folks who live in the U.S., where Chevron is from. If you live in a big city, RAN or the Yes Men will be able to send you local folks for street teams. If you live in a small town and want to be a leader, you should email anyhow - there's still a way. If you live in the countryside or the wilderness, well... we're jealous!