Shell has around 25,000 branded gas stations in the United States according to the internet and for International Women’s Day, which is today, they are putting themselves out there in a big, big way. For today and today only, Shell will be changing the branding on exactly one of those gas stations to reflect a new initiative they’ve launched called “She Will,” “She’ll” for short. Do you see what they did there?
She Will sounds exactly like the kind of dystopian nightmare it is, wherein a giant corporation that is part of an industry which is largely responsible for the current climate hellscape we’ve found ourselves in, attempts to repurpose some punny feminism in an effort to virtue signal their benevolence. Everyone had hoped it was fake, but Ad Week confirmed with the agency responsible for the campaign that it was, unfortunately, all too real.
A representative for Shell told CBS Los Angeles that the purpose of She Will is “inspiring the female leaders of tomorrow by closing the gender gap in engineering and technology through education, engagement, and awareness across the organization and industry,” which sounds just lovely.
While there haven’t been any specifics released about how Shell plans to inspire the female leaders of tomorrow exactly, beyond adding an impossibly small apostrophe to a San Dimas gas station sign, they’ve certainly been celebrating themselves regarding the progress they believe they’ve made at their company in supporting women. The number of women in leadership positions at Shell skyrocketed from 16% in 2012 to 22% in 2017 they report, and for the second time in the history of the company a woman has been named CEO. Can you even handle all of this progress?!
Apparently, in addition to the San Dimas signage, the company also planned to change the branding on its social media accounts to reflect She’ll for the day, and release the video below, although as of now that hasn’t happened. It’s understandable, considering that as soon as news broke that Shell was becoming She’ll the entire internet rose up to say SHUT UP YOU’RE RUINING THE PLANET, and we haven’t heard much since.
Of course, Shell is no stranger to being called out for its surface-level addressing of what are otherwise extremely serious and systemic issues that have far-reaching consequences. In 2019 it pledged $300 million to invest in natural ecosystems (which its industry has participated in the destruction of), and if you will remember, that’s just as much money as Mike Bloomberg spent on running for president. I wonder how much a new gas station sign cost them?
Speaking of, pictures of the new signage have yet to be posted anywhere online, and although I did consider a six-hour drive to San Dimas just to do it for the ‘Gram, I figured my money would be better spent not filling up a Shell station to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Update, 3/9: A representative from Shell’s ad agency has told Jezebel the She’ll/IWD campaign has been “put on hold by Shell.”