Shell: Let’s go! What 10 things are wrong with this print ad?

In honor of Shell’s “Let’s go” ad campaign, let’s play “What 10 things do you see wrong in this picture?” Ready? Let’s go.

Actual Shell print ad

1.  The kids look Photoshopped in against a photograph of a Brazil coastline.

2.  That roll of kite string looks like it could be Photoshopped in too. It’s HUGE! And look at the way he’s holding it.

3.  The second kid has his own kite string but no roll of string. (Sorry, you probably can’t see the string, but it’s there and it heads off the page.)

4.  There’s no “to” needed in the headline. Why not say “Let’s help keep the skies blue”? C’mon, who was the copywriter on that?

5.  Who are they saying “Let’s go” to? Given the BP disaster, they should be saying this to the oil industry. So, why are they saying it to us instead?

6.  “Let’s go” seems to be a lame rip off of “Let’s roll.” The latter phrase helped galvanize our nation after the September 11 attacks. Shell’s tagline sits weirdly near the ad headline, not making sense, and then ends the paragraph like it’s trying to galvanize an industry—a spoiled, very rich industry.

7.  “Let’s help to keep the skies blue”—why? Because you can’t keep the water blue?

8.  Shell is talking about its supposed success minimizing pollution, but the picture looks like a filthy haze is still settled over the coast.

9.  Why Brazil? I don’t think Brazilians want to hear “let’s go” from Shell. (Here’s why.) Is this a lame attempt to change their minds? Trying to influence a court decision on Shell’s role in pollution-related health problems?

10.  The website given is, obviously their United States site, so again, why mention Brazil? It only makes people like me look it up and find bad news about you.

On an added note, I might know why Shell chose Brazil. It was to distract our attention from their appalling (but exonerated) actions in Nigeria. Or from their questionable environmental and/or advertising practices in Canada, New Zealand (case dismissed), and the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

Maybe their ads should say, “Let’s help to keep the Shell ads true.”


Like to read about marketing and advertising with a sometimes social spin? Check out MultiCultClassics and Business Week’s Brand New Day.


  1. sgcks · October 22, 2010

    Is this seriously a real Shell Ad? I mean the graphics kinda suck don’t they? I think even I would have been able to do a much better job.

    • ctmarcom · October 22, 2010

      Pretty bad, isn’t it? It is absolutely a real ad. Found it in The Week magazine. At least we can have a little fun with it! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Lori Kofahl (@kofahl51) · July 16, 2012

    I was watching an ad on TV and they actually, in an advertisement, spelled the word “goal” as gollll. I cannot believe that they pay people thousands of dollars to misspell words on their ads that our children read…..get a dictionary

  3. Pingback: Gasoline Print Advertisements | Media Interpretation and Criticism

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s