Anti-Gore YouTube Video Tied to ExxonMobil PR Firm
Posted on August 6, 2006A video spoofing Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, about the dangers of global warming was recently uploaded to YouTube. The video, which can be seen here, had the appearance of being a homemade film. However, a recent Wall Street Journal article revealed that the source of the video was actually the DCI Group, a publicity firm whose clients include ExxonMobil. Raw Story reports that ABC News recently followed up on the WSJ story.
"But when the Wall Street Journal tried to find the guy who posted this film � listed on YouTube as a 29-year-old � they found the movie didn't come from an amateur working out of his basement," report Jake Tapper and Max Culhane for ABC News. "The film actually came from a slick Republican public relations firm called DCI, which just happens to have oil giant Exxon as a client."ABC also contacted DCI who told them, "We do not disclose the names of our clients, nor do we discuss the work we do on behalf of our clients." ABC News said ExxonMobil also denied having anything to do with the video placed on YouTube. ExxonMobil also told the WSJ they had nothing to do with the video despite the DCI connection.
"So next time you're reading something on the Internet from a supposedly 'real person pushing a movie, defending an actor, talking about a politician, keep in mind that it might not actually be a real person but a corporate hired gun, selling you an idea through deception," Tapper warned in the ABC News segment.
A DCI Group spokesman declines to say whether or not DCI made the anti-Gore penguin video, or to explain why Toutsmith appeared to be sending email from DCI's computers. "DCI Group does not disclose the names of its clients, nor do we discuss the work that we do on our clients' behalf," says Matt Triaca, who heads DCI's media relations shop.The WSJ article also indicated that ads purchased on Google and elsewhere helped increase the video spoof's popularity on YouTube.com.
Dave Gardner, an Exxon spokesman, confirms that Exxon is a client of DCI. But he says Exxon had no role in creating the "Inconvenient Truth" spoof. "We, like everyone else on the planet, have seen it, but did not fund it, did not approve it, and did not know what its source was," Mr. Gardner says.
Traffic to the penguin video, first posted on YouTube.com in May, got a boost from prominently placed sponsored links that appeared on the Google search engine when users typed in "Al Gore" or "Global Warming." The ads, which didn't indicate who had paid for them, were removed shortly after The Wall Street Journal contacted DCI Group on Tuesday.This attempt to subvert YouTube has definitely backfired for the DCI Group and whoever their misguided client is.