Sign outside a Chevron station
Sign outside a Chevron station - 
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: This week, Chevron rolled out a new ad campaign. It's called "We Agree" and in it, the oil giant highlights efforts to develop renewable energy and create jobs. But before the giant could get the campaign all the way out, pranksters stole the company's thunder.

Marketplace's Jeff Tyler explains.

JEFF TYLER: Chevron expected its new ad campaign would attract interest, says spokesman Morgan Crinklaw.

MORGAN CRINLAW: Chevron's ad campaign is really designed to get people talking about the common ground that we share on key energy issues.

People are talking. But not about common ground. Activists released fake Chevron ads -- identical in design -- except the phony ads focused on alleged environmental abuses. Chevron spent millions of dollars on its campaign. The pranksters counter-campaign operated on a shoe-string budget.

Maria Ramos organized the hoax for the Rainforest Action Network.

MARIA RAMOS: Honestly, probably something like hundreds of dollars. Not much at all.

Despite the low cost, marketing expert Jeff Gregory with Brand Counsel says the stunt will undermine Chevron's campaign.

JEFF GREGORY: Now people are going to go, Chevron? Aren't those the people that got spoofed the other day?

The spokesman for Chevron says the company is considering its legal options. In the meantime, Chevron plans to continue its ad campaign as planned.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

Follow Jeff Tyler at @JeffMarketplace