Basically, the campaign asks people to visit their local Shell petrol station and take a photo obscuring the ‘S’ on the Shell signage (thus making ‘hell’). Like this;
Participants post the photo on a specially created Google Map here. You are then asked to go to any Shell petrol station on Google Maps and give it a bad (one star) review. You then inform AI UK of what you have done. After this it becomes less clear what happens next. I assume they will represent the response to Shell some how through some public forum, like the media.
Basically, it is a fancy on-line petition with a twist – the bad reviews adding an extra dimension of negative publicity. So, there is also an element of public protest, just taking place on-line. Rather than picket the stations in reality people picket them on-line.
The action has been running since 21 August but despite receiving over 27,000 views to the ‘Hell Station‘ Google map this appears to have only translated into about 20 photos being posted – which for a petition is not very good. This begs the question of whether the action, though in many ways ”light touch‘ asks too much of people i.e. hunting down your local Shell station? The only comment on the map suggests that adding the photo and uploading the photos is ‘hard‘ so maybe that explains the low transference from interest to action.
I imagine this is not the first time Google Maps has been used in this way, and would be interested to see how successful other actions have been in generating participation?