For the purposes of this “Yes Men” inspired prank, I would target British Petroleum as the company that requires an identity correction. In this prank, BP would be challenged on its completely lax safety regulations regarding its oil platforms, which played a big part in the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010, leaking millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. This was all due to a culture of greed that allowed a major disaster to occur simply because they wanted to lower their bottom line and be more lax than they should have with their oil platform safety regulations. This has left a giant mess on their hands that they need to repair desperately.
In this prank, a faux news announcement would be circulated and press conference would be held, stating that, as restitution for the incredible amount of oil lost in the ocean, a new system for reclaiming the Gulf oil has been created called the Petrosuck. The Petrosuck device is a large-scale water pump that will drain out a significant portion of the Gulf of Mexico in order to sieve out the oil. The filtration system in the Petrosuck separates water, fish and food matter from the oil, leaving both clean oil that can be used for industry and a fine paste that would mix water with contaminants and marine life waste. Spin would be used to emphasize the reclamation of oil at the expense of the dead animals and billions of gallons of seawater that would be contaminated. After all, oil must keep flowing, and the Petrosuck would go a long way towards reclaiming some of those lose gallons.
The media outlets that are available would make the perfect means to release this “product,” as it would force BP into action and make them be held accountable for their mistakes. Using official channels such as a press release would lend credence to the idea, despite the fact that it is not a legitimate one – that alone would make people pay attention to it, no matter how ridiculous the trick. Like the Yes Men, this prank would propose an outlandish product that would likely be accepted by the unknowing public and news officials, showing just how ridiculous the media culture and corporate ignorance is at this point in history.
This prank is very closely tied to the teaching of Appiah, particularly the idea of culture. According to Appiah, many organization’s attempts to take action on particular issues are futile in the long run; in this prank, the actions taken to fix the Gulf spill would lead to the destruction of the Gulf ecosystem, killing incredible numbers of sea creatures and further contaminating water, all in the name of recovering lost valuables, essentially. This prank would force BP to confront the fact that they are not doing enough to spearhead Gulf recovery efforts or changes in their own safety regulations, which is what caused the spill in the first place. Due to our culture’s importance on money and oil, it would be entirely plausible that BP officials would seek a way to recover their lost oil, no matter how hazardous or unhealthy to the wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico.