Top executives at oil giant Shell have begun a 50-city tour across the United States this summer in hopes of persuading angry consumers that Big Oil is not ripping them off.
John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., and other company 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.” What exactly to call this tour … Gasapalooza? Monsters of Capitalism? Nasty As They Wanna Be? And who’s the opening act? Maybe the CEO of Merk trying to persuade angry consumers that Big Pharma is not ripping them off?
How rampant is the insecurity over there at Shell HQ? I don’t see any other possible explanation as to why these guys feel it so important to be liked? This is like a crack dealer wanting hugs from his customers.
Speaking as a consumer of oil-products, I find this whole idea more than a little insulting. We’re not stupid, Mr. Hofmeister. There’s no part of the phrase “record profits” that we don’t understand. We all know where those profits are coming from because we all fill up our cars. We all remember when the idea of $3 a gallon gas was impossible to imagine. Not to long ago, gas at that price was supposed to be one of the signs of economic apocalypse.
Hofmeister explained the trip by saying: “These are unprecedented times that require unprecedented responses.” Yes, how about some nice unprecedented silence? Remember your PR strategy: Speak very softly and carry a big profit margin.
My sympathies to whomever is stuck doing Shell’s PR work … I do not think they are responsible for this. Ideas this bad have to come straight from the CEO because otherwise it would have never got off the whiteboard.
There is always a well-known solution to every human problem–neat, plausible, and wrong. — Mencken