Friday, March 02, 2007

GE - Propaganda Machine

Imagination at Work.

GE just caught my attention. I was camly watching some quality NBA basketball, trying to tune out a long series of commericials featuring Dwane Wade, when one of the most cinematic commericials I've ever seen graced the screen. A little boy captures an ocean breeze in a jar, travels thousands of miles through gorgious rolling hills and spectacular mountains in order to present the jar to his grandfather. Upon opening the jar, the ocean breeze explodes out, blowing out the candles on the birthday cake that is sitting in front of his anachronistic face. It felt like a combination of 'Everything is Illuminated and 'Harry Potter'.

GE was behind the whole thing, selling their greenness with a massive advertising budget and some seriously talented creatives. I went to the site (see the link above) and discovered a multimedia web experience with just as much artistic input and creativity as the commericial. But I think the messanging is hollow. All flash and no splash.

I do think that companies like GE are going to be critical in leading us into a greener future, but they need to give me something real, not some arty video narrated by Kevin Kline that compares their new jet engine to Japanese philosophy. It's great that it's more efficient/quieter/faster/whatever but the real issue is that it is still an engine. We need to find ways to get away from engines. Engines that still burn nothing but gas are not the solution.

So I don't buy this superslick campaign as it stands right now. The more efficient lightbulbs featured on GE's site are cool and are going in the right direction. But overall, the whole thing feels like a nice way to gloss over the fact that very little is actually changing - at least at GE. It is damaging to the movement. But damn it looks cool. Hopefully some of their ad dollars will leak over to their research department.


Anonymous Twyla said...

Good words.

6:23 AM  

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