Say what you like about Extinction Rebellion – and many do, especially when they’re stuck on front of it in an M25 traffic jam – you have to admit it’s a pretty efficient protest organisation, one with a useful sense of theatre.
Havas in London found itself centre stage this week as ER protesters about its decision to take on the Shell account (to the relief of previous agency WPP one suspects) invaded its much-vaunted ‘village’ in King’s Cross complete with camera-ready body bags.
ER’s Katie Burrell says: “Without the skill and creativity of agencies like Havas (good that someone still rates them anyway), Shell and the other fossil fuel companies driving the accelerating climate crisis with their supplies of oil, gas and coal would be revealed for what they really are – criminals who are destroying our future.
“Shell spends more on advertising than on renewable energy like wind and solar. But now Havas will help them produce communications and media campaigns to convince the world that they are part of the solution to the climate emergency, not one of the main causes.
“We’ve heard from people inside Havas that many of them are really unhappy about doing Shell’s dirty business.
“They know companies like Shell are driving the climate crisis and have been funding climate denialism for years. We encourage the people of Havas to use their voice and join our new campaign to Rebel For Truth.
“Imagine how powerful it would be if their discontent got Shell off the Havas books – we believe the strength of dissatisfaction within Havas could achieve this.”
Phew… Havas, surprisingly perhaps for a professional communicator, has, so far, been at a loss for words. Strange as it must have seen this, or something like it, coming.
Are the staff really revolting? Havas is a self-professed B-Corp company so it’s even more embarrassing.
Will Havas resign Shell? That will certainly test their communication skills.