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Shell partners with Fortnite to push gasoline

In arguably the most brazen example of gross product placement in recent times, Shell is pushing gasoline propaganda through the vehicle of Fortnite. 

What are kids most worried about, climate change… what do kids really like, Fortnite. Roll out the prop! 

In what feels like a work of fiction Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker may have written, oil giant Shell has recently partnered with Fortnite to push its new ‘V-Power Nitro+’ gasoline. 

As you’re reading this, thousands of players are exploring EPIC’s Shell Island, a DLC campaign consisting of six fan made road trips and a bunch of bombastic quests. ‘Hit the dusty trail’ the promo says, but don’t forget to fill up between missions at the Shell gas station. 

That’s not an arbitrary extra, by the way. Fortnite gamers will literally have to periodically stock up their virtual tank with Shell’s Nitro+ gas to successfully navigate all in-game obstacles.

While you’re busy reeling and/or facepalming from the information you’ve just received, let us provide some context behind Shell’s shameless endeavour. Having boasted record profits for 2023, the oil giant is unreservedly pivoting towards fossil fuels and away from renewables. Screw PR. 

To ensure quarterly upticks continue for the decade ahead, getting younger folk onboard with gasoline is seemingly its next big prerogative. Who cares about extreme weather, or the displacement of millions? Give Gen Zers a controller and they’ll not only keep shtum, but hopefully start saving for a SUV. 

Research conducted by non-profit Media Matters for America revealed Shell had been actively targeting young personalities on Twitch, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to bolster its campaign. It also shelled out (excuse the pun) on securing a three-part IGN series pushing the DLC – check the comments if you fancy a laugh. 

Shell reportedly sponsored the Fortnite livestreams of six Twitch streamers with a combined 5.5m followers and paid for promotions from a further three influencers said to have tens of millions of followers across the big social media platforms.

A single paid promotion last month by YouTube personality ‘Chica’ had a potential reach of 1.75m people alone. 

This isn’t the first time Shell has attempted to hitch the coattails of the gaming industry for an easy commercial win, having sponsored the League of Legends EU championships in 2019. 

As in that same instance, though, garnering anything other than public condemnation from young people has proven nigh-on impossible. Why are they so damn keen on having a future?! 

In terms of EPIC, there’s no real blame or malice to be had. The global phenomenon of Fortnite has gobbled up just about every popular cultural icon and franchise of the last five years, fictional or real.  

The gaming phenomenon is open to all comers with mainstream clout and wads of cash, meaning its hands aren’t exactly clean.

When compared to the damage created by the fossil fuel behemoth that is Shell, however, it seems young people know where their anger and energy needs directing.