While the only way the rest of us can afford to get around on anymore are dogs and ponies, Shell Oil and a bunch of its friendly top executives are bringing a genuine old-fashioned dog and pony show to 50 towns near you this summer. Their goal? To convince angry consumers that Big Oil really is not ripping them off. It’s sure to be complete with photo ops and baby kissing. And it ought to be called the Web Minus Zero spin tour. And you can be certain that it was the brainchild of a PR agency or Shell’s PR department, because they really believe that all this new media, new age crap has nothing to do with them. One of them told me that only yesterday.
John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co.and other top execs, plan to meet with “everyone from average Americans struggling to pay rising prices at the pump to city officials and governors” on their tour, which recently kicked off in Dallas.
Business is the art of extracting money from another man’s pocket without resorting to violence. Max Amsterdam
“The industry and Shell has a responsibility to explain what we do, why we do it and how we do it to the American people, and we don’t do enough of it,” Hofmeister said. (What? You thought he’d mention alternative fuels?)
On the first leg of the tour, in Dallas, Spinmeister, uh, Hofmeister followed the Big Oil line that “We are an oil-based economy. Fossil fuels will remain the heart of our energy system.”
Wrongo! Joining the conversation does not mean repeating the same tired top down message with a smile while people can’t afford to turn on their air-conditioners or fill the gas tank in their gas guzzling SUVs.
You want to talk Mr. Spinmeister? Tell us what Big Oil is doing to develop alternative energy sources, to curb pollution, to slow global warming. This Shell Tour is nothing but an old-fashioned PR plot to control the message and change public opinion. Too late! The time for justifying oil dependency is long gone. It left around the same time as the illusion of message control.