Shell’s Eureka Film – Utter Greenwashing or Interesting Progress?

home-eureka.pngA while ago I got a copy of Wired Magazine with an interesting DVD inserted into the package. It turned out to be a highly polished 10-minute advertisement/film for Shell entitled “Eureka”. You can watch the whole thing yourself below.
What first struck me about the film is that the production value is incredibly high, and the story they weave is actually compelling and mostly believable, though painfully cheesy. It tells the story of Jaap Van Ballegooijen, a Shell engineer who apparently came up with a less invasive method of drilling for oil – inspired no less, by his son’s drinking of a milkshake with a “bendy straw”.
The message, of course, is that heroic Shell engineers will keep devising ways to get at oil no matter what, and the kids will be alright in the end, and you really don’t need to worry about anything. No mention about the actual burning of the oil and any of the effects thereof. These guys are too practical for all that…


Jeff Osborne makes an excellent observation about Shell, stating that in an organization so hugely complex, odd decisions are bound to happen from time to time, but respect needs to be paid to the experience and planning of their myriad experts.
But still… I can only imagine what this film cost to produce, plus the cost of putting DVD copies in countless magazines, and running clip after clip on TV. And what’s the real benefit? Presumably the idea was to get a lot of people to feel good about filling up at Shell stations. Personally, I’d be a lot more impressed to see how the company intends to move away from oil altogether and still maintain itself as a successful and respected company – get Jaag to tackle that one and the praise and profits the company will receive will be immeasurably higher, and not cost a dime of PR budget.
I’m surprised we haven’t seen parodies galore pop up… Here’s the whole thing:

The official Shell site is here.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He was instrumental in the creation of TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years as well as an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.