Greenpeace video targets Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic

The environmental campaigning organisation has created the film for its Save the Arctic campaign

Greenpeace's film: Song of Oil, Ice and Fire
Greenpeace's film: Song of Oil, Ice and Fire

What is it?

The environmental campaigning organisation Greenpeace has teamed up with the creative agency Don’t Panic and the British montage artists Kennardphillipps to create a video for its Save the Arctic campaign.

The film, called Song of Oil, Ice and Fire, targets the oil company Shell and its plans to drill in the waters of the US Alaskan Arctic this summer.

The film shows three iconic landscape artworks – Pearblossom Highway by David Hockney, Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth and An Arctic Summer: Boring Through the Pack in Melville Bay by William Bradford – burning away to expose jarring dystopian replacements by the montage artists.

In the new artworks, the scenes have been transformed by Shell drilling infrastructure, devastating oil spills and explosions. It aims to give the viewer a sense of what Shell risks by drilling in the Arctic.

How was it done?

Kennardphillipps sorted through hundreds of photos of oil accidents. It superimposed the real oil spills onto images of the American dream and the icebergs of the Arctic.

Why now?

The video was launched on 27 May in the lead up to the drilling beginning in the Arctic this summer. The drilling is due to start on 1 July.

What has been the impact so far?

The main platform for promoting the video has been Facebook, where in just one day the video had almost 800,000 views and more than 10,000 shares. It is also being shared with supporters via email.

Anything else?

It’s not the first time that Greenpeace has collaborated with Don’t Panic. Last year they produced the film Lego: Everything is NOT Awesome, which was seen by more than 7 million people on YouTube after it launched in June 2014.

In just three months, the film helped spur Lego to end a 50-year marketing relationship with Shell.

What the charity says

Elena Polisano, an Arctic campaigner for Greenpeace, says: "Shell could be risking disaster by drilling for oil in Arctic waters in less than six weeks. We made this video to expose that, and show how its plans affect all of us too – because the impact of climate change affects the places we all live in.

"If Shell drills in the Arctic it could devastate this iconic and beautiful place, and its incredible wildlife, like polar bears and narwhals. All the evidence shows Shell can’t drill for oil safely in the Arctic. The extreme conditions mean it’s when, not if, a spill will happen. Shell has a huge PR machine behind it, but it didn’t count on millions of ordinary people standing up to protect the Arctic. We need everyone to watch and share this video, to show Shell it won’t get away with destroying the world we love."

Third Sector verdict

The film is compelling viewing, from the birds tweeting and the idyllic scene to the haunting images of flames cutting through landscapes, the bleak scenes and threatening music. In less then two minutes Greenpeace manages to convey a grim future and leaves the viewer with just one thought: "Shell would let the world burn to drill in the Arctic".

It is a powerful campaign with an equally strong message that should set YouTube ablaze and further the organisation’s Save The Arctic campaign.

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