In the 1990's when Nigerians began to nonviolently protest Shell’s oil development, Shell collaborated with the Nigerian military regime to violently suppress opposition. More than 60 villages were raided, over 800 people were killed, and 30,000 more were displaced from their homes.
In July 2012, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy announces that pharmacies in La Jolla, San Diego's wealthiest neighborhood, would be shut down because of medication abuse associated with those pharmacies. That was only the start....
To celebrate Shell’s era-defining Arctic drilling program, a gala is announced in Seattle’s historic Space Needle. The event goes haywire (and viral) when a miniature rig-drink-dispenser malfunctions.
Is there a way to get lots of attention for something boring, secretive, and highly wonkish, with an acronym that sounds like stuff you wipe your butt with?
Executives, investors, and opponents alike reacted with surprise to the news that Bank of America, realizing it was heading for a taxpayer bailout, was asking Americans to start thinking about what they'll do with the bank once they own it, and to start advertising that vision too.
To compensate victims of their racist and abusive "stop and frisk" policy, the New York Police Department partnered with McDonald’s to offer free Happy Meals™ to anyone stopped and frisked three times without charge or summons. Too yummy to be true?
If "anchor babies" are such a big issue, we should all look carefully to determine whether any one of our ancestors entered the country illegally. If they did, we should self-deport to (one of) our (many) illegal ancestors' country of origin. But which? SelfDeport.org can help you decide.
A stately old animal shelter, abandoned for years in the middle of a beautiful Amsterdam neighborhood, and finally taken over by a group of squatters. A corporation with big, vague plans to turn the place into something for profit. An impotent city council. The neighborhood prefers the squatters. Who will win?
Funny actions are funny. People like them. Therefore, ever since the first week Zuccotti was occupied, the Yes Lab has been working in the Occupy movement by helping create funny actions that highlight the messages of Occupy Wall Street, and also by helping to document and publicize the actions of others.
Force children to mine precious metals, save suicidal workers from jumping to their deaths so they can labor another day, or find the cheapest way to dispose of mountains of e-waste—all while keeping productivity up so you can toss shiny trinkets to adoring consumers! All this and more from the first anti-iPhone iPhone app.
Asthma-related bullying! "The Bieber" inhaler! Exploding bat lungs! All that and more brought to you by Coal Cares™ (www.coalcares.com), a bizarre yet typical public-health initiative by America’s largest coal company to make coal-caused asthma cool with pop-culture kiddie inhalers. A collaboration between the Yes Lab and NGO Coal is Killing Kids, this project went viral and drew spectacular media attention and at least four threats of legal action.
Official-looking Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) stickers, with chilling assurance that the tap water is "most likely safe," appeared above public faucets throughout New York. The goal was to alert New Yorkers to the alarming prospect that their drinking water could soon be contaminated by hydraulic fracturing.
The Alberta Tar Sands as a low budget filming location for Peter Jackson's Mordor scenes in The Hobbit? That was the buzz generated by a sophisticated social-media campaign unleashed by Canadian activists in partnership with the Yes Lab. The ruse put the spotlight on the environmental devastation caused by the Tar Sands at a time when Canada's government is rushing headlong towards disaster by massively expanding the site.
Students from Columbia College in Chicago came together with Greenpeace and The Yes Lab to create the illusion that a new Coal Plant was planned in Chicago — but that instead of going in a poor neighborhood like the two coal plants that already exist, this one would be built in a rich one.
[UPDATE: FOUR YEARS LATER, THIS HAPPENS FOR REAL!! CLICK THROUGH FOR DETAILS.] With local, State and Federal governments slashing critical education, health and public safety services nationwide due to dramatic budget cutbacks, GE brought good things to life by offering to return the entirety of its $3.2 billion 2010 tax refund to the Treasury. Even more touching, GE committed to conducting a nationwide survey to gauge popular opinion on which of the recently-enacted budget cuts people would like to see reversed, now possible thanks to GE's generosity. This unprecedented—and completely fictitious—corporate move, was a joint project of US Uncut and the Yes Lab, and caused GE's stock to drop $3.5 billion after it was reported in USA Today.
What to do about disastrous oil spills that inevitably result from pipelines that stretch for hundreds of miles? This hairy problem was answered by "My Hair Cares," a "campaign" by Enbridge—the Canadian oil and gas giant whose massive Northern Gateway pipeline would cut across huge swathes of pristine Canadian wilderness—to mop up spills with human hair.
In the fall of 2010 a slick Apple website announced an exciting new ethical product launch: the iPhone4 CF. "CF" stands for conflict-free, which "Apple" promised its new phone would be—i.e. its minerals wouldn't be sourced from conflict-ridden regions like the Democratic Republic of Congo, where battles over mining rights have fueled countless atrocities and massacres. The project was developed by students from the New School in New York, Friends of the Congo, and the Yes Lab.
Truth in advertising? Chevron's "We Agree" faux-street-art "greenwashing" ad campaign was completely derailed when Rainforest Action Network, Amazon Watch and the Yes Lab created a satirical version of their own. When Chevron's real campaign-launch announcement was preempted with the launch of a much more honest version on Chevron's behalf, a comedy of errors ensued, with many media outlets reporting on Chevron's uncharacteristic self-reflection on its past misdeeds, especially the toxic mess the oil giant has left in Ecuador. A truer-to-life poster and TV ad campaign followed.
An ad-hoc group called CRIME (Committee for the Reimbursement of Indemnity Money Extorted from Haiti) to announce, on France’s behalf, the repayment of €17 billion to Haiti in relief aid—a payment equal to France extorted from Haiti in 1804 as a condition for their independence. France's odd legalistic reaction meant oodles of press for the project.
Blame Canada? During the U.N. sponsored climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, heavy CO2 emitter Canada surprised many, including its own negotiators, by acknowledging the historic climate debt that rich countries owe the developing world, which scientists predict will bear the most dramatic impacts of climate change.