A while ago I had a bit of a rant called "Do energy companies think we're stupid?" Well here's the sequel, in all it's post-Christmas glory. Shell's new (?) corporate song, set to "We are the world..." has been emailed with much sniggering across the world. This unfortunate piece of corporate plasticity was no doubt born in some lost karaoke bar where it came into this world as the bastard lovechild of an unwitting Bob Geldof, a Dutch oil executive and a Kraftwerk cover band.
Once again, I am flabbergasted at the shallowness and cynicism of oil company communications. Lucy Kellaway, in the Financial Times, awarded this song the prestigious distinction of being 2006's "Company Song So Awful I Was Positive It Was a Spoof. " She says "It is a haunting mixture of pyschobabble, sentimentality and business jargon. Have a listen yourself. You won’t be disappointed." Check it out here, if you dare.
Along similar lines, today in my post-Christmas stupor, I toddled off to The Guardian site to get my latest Ricky Gervais podcast. At the bottom of the page was this lovely gem from Exxon, making it hard to decide which oil company has induced the most sickening examples of transparent attempts at environmentalism for 2006.
This image to me asks a hell of a lot more questions than it answers. If you actually click through to the ad to learn about Exxon's "commitment to the environment", then you learn this:
"have recycled more than 164,000 tons of waste for use in certain roadbased products since 1997. This effort has resulted in more than $1.3 million in cost savings."
Aha. So are you sure this isn't more accurately known as "commitment to profit", Exxon? Not that there's anything wrong with that, if you're upfront about it. The site also says that you invited a lot of "international waste management firms" to "tender proposals for waste management facilities" in the poor nation of Angol. Did you actually create any positive impact for the local community, or just bring in international firms to streamline your processes in order to save you maximum profits and allows you to maximise your use of local resources? Just wondering.
I mean really, Exxon's corporate claptrap makes Shell's corporate song look positively rosy. Maybe someone at Shell should begin the ultimate recyling initiative, and donate that horrendous song to Exxon with Christmas wishes.