How do you do, fellow kids?
How do you do, fellow kids? When was the last time you dreamed of hitting the road and going on an epic road trip in your internal combustion engine vehicle?
Giant oil corporation and major climate change contributor Shell has begun targeting the youth by polluting their video game experiences with a "Shell Ultimate Road Trips" campaign baked into — what else? — Epic's hit videogame Fortnite.
As Media Matters reports, the campaign is part of a broader initiative to sell the younger generations on Shell's new premium-grade gasoline. Outside of the uber-popular battle royale game, the corporation is also promoting the product on Twitch, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.
In many ways, it's a thinly-veiled attempt to win younger demographics over by one of the biggest oil companies in the world — at exactly the time that we should instead be promoting any viable alternative.
Despite humanity facing a climate change-driven calamity facilitated by the burning of fossil fuels — a reality that certainly hasn't flown over the heads of younger folks — Shell has doubled down on natural gas and oil production this year, which already led to record profits for the company last year, according to Bloomberg.
As part of pushing its allegedly "new and improved" premium gasoline, Shell sponsored popular gamers on Fortnite to try out a new map. And no, we're not making this up: the new experience involves players filling up their tanks at virtual Shell gas stations before embarking on their #Shellroadtrips.
"Conquer new roads and go to places you've never been before," an official description reads. "From Grotto Point, Cyber City, and Mystical Castle to Frozen Town, Canyon Edge, and Gravity Gateway."
But whether the initiative will end up actually winning over players remains to be seen. Research has shown that most youth are massively concerned about climate change, in a phenomenon increasingly being dubbed "climate anxiety."
Of course, these fears are far from unfounded, with global temperatures rising at an accelerating and unrelenting pace.
Still, not every child playing Fortnite out there will be fully informed. Shell's latest propaganda isn't only ill-advised, it's a shameful marketing tactic intentionally targeting malleable minds.
Sure, the US still heavily relies on gas-guzzling cars to get around — but that doesn't mean we should continue glorifying the environmentally harmful practice.
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