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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chevron Punked With 'Yes Men'-Produced Attack Ad

Posted By on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 at 11:59 AM

You think that looks like a real Chevron ad? We agree.
  • You think that looks like a real Chevron ad? We agree.
You think that looks like a real Chevron ad? We agree.
An apparent Chevron ad campaign decrying the oil giant's years of polluting Third World locales and pledging to change its ways was the spitting image of the real thing. But Scrooge-like changes of heart are only for the movies. The San Ramon-based oil giant has, in fact, launched a touchy-feely ad campaign based on the theme "We agree." But It turns out the most provocative parts of the "We Agree" campaign were a clever hoax that fooled a number of media outlets.

Chevron is the latest target of The Yes Men, a group of "corporate raiders" who shame businesses via pranks of this sort. Here's how it works:

Chevron's actual ad spiel can be found at But the parody ad is at the almost --

but not quite -- identical address of That

hyphen makes all the difference.

Instead of moving ads testifying to the oil giant's efforts to support renewable energy and act as a global good neighbor, Chevron apparently castigates itself for years of environmental misdeeds in the Third World.


"When it comes to oil spills and climate change, we need real action. Instead, Chevron has prioritized a high-priced, glossy campaign intending to trick the American people, Said Maria Ramos of Rainforest Action Network, which partnered with The Yes Men on the ad parody. "The reason we did this is to call attention to Chevron's greenwashing campaign."

Whether the Rainforest Action Network will yield to all but certain demands from Chevron to take down its site -- which all but the most careful observers would mistake for Chevron's own -- is "a question for our lawyers." Ramos says Chevron hasn't demanded such action -- yet.

Our calls to Chevron have not yet been returned. 

Chevron is in the midst of a multi-billion dollar suit brought by indigenous Ecuadorian people. While the oil company claims it is being shaken down, the plaintiffs claim Chevron for years polluted with abandon and has employed "dirty tricks" operatives to thwart its opponents' legal case.

The fake Chevron ads fooled a number of media sites, most notably Fast Company.

Update, 1:30 p.m.: Chevron spokesman Justin Higgs sends us the following:

Our statement can be found at

Re: legal action --  we are evaluating our legal recourse.


Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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