But just before we begin, I should mention that GE is among 200 speakers at this year’s Festival of Marketing, which takes place in London on October 5-6.
1. Raining octopuses mobile ad campaign
I thought I’d start with a mobile display ad from summer 2016, before we get stuck in to content and social media.
GE worked with Mobkoi’s creative studio to launch an interactive full-screen ad – an octopus lands on the screen and the user is required to wipe away virtual ink in order to reveal a window in which the campaign video plays.
The video (watch it here) is a great bit of TV ad creative, with octopuses and a crocodile falling to earth in an un-godly shower; the GE tagline, ‘ready for whatever you’ve got, world’.
You can play around with this native ad and its in-format functionality yourself on Mobkoi’s website.
2. Instagram and #InstaWalk
GE has a popular Instagram account (approx. 250,000 followers) that’s full to the rafters with beautifully crisp images from engineering and science.
For example, see the photo below of one of GE’s locomotives, part of a series taken by a Pulitzer prize-winning photographer.
But GE does more than simply post lovely images – it uses Instagram as an outreach and engagement tool.
With #InstaWalk, which began in 2013 but has been run a number of times, GE invites influencers and super fans to take special tours of its various facilities.
On their walk round, all are encouraged to take photos of their experience and Instagram them. It’s a concept that many other brands have emulated.
3. Unimpossible Missions
Some lovely video next from early 2016.
Three videos each attempt to disprove a popular expression, such as ‘a snowball’s chance in hell’, by showcasing GE’s technological expertise in experimental surroundings.
This video has raked in 500,000 YouTube views to date. The slightly grave tone to the voiceover, cinematic location and lighting, and the dramatic production all make for compelling content.
GE’s Pinterest can be delightfully left of centre. Take the board titled ‘Hey Girl’, for example, with pinned pickup lines from GE scientists.
Other boards include ‘Badass machines’, ‘That’s genius’, and ‘Mind = Blown’.
5. #6SecondScience fair
Many of you may be familiar with #6SecondScience, GE’s educational Vine-fest. The Vine embedded below proved particularly popular.
The science ‘fair’ ran in August 2013, with users invited to add the hashtag to their own efforts. Many users’ Vines were hosted on the GE Tumblr created to host submissions.
Vine proved an effective platform for these quick bursts of educational inspiration, back when the six-second format was experiencing an upsurge of popularity.
The idea was notable as GE had already been creating educational Vines for a few months, but decided they could become a bigger campaign in their own right, with the introduction of this competition/crowdsourced style element.
More video now, and a fantastic example of social video.
GE showcased many of its material tests (crushing, wind erosion and drop loads) during spring of 2016, with individual videos of different items being destroyed.
Much like the ‘Will it blend?’ success for Blendtec, GE knew that breaking stuff provokes interest on social media.
I’ve embedded the compilation video here, for your pleasure.
GE took to Snapchat as early as July 2014, teasing a special guest announcement (Buzz Aldrin) in the run up to the 45th anniversary of the moon landing and adding some cartoony space drawings.
The brand has used Snapchat to engage directly with users, too. During #emojiscience week, GE encouraged users to send them an emoji then replied with a Snap of a relevant experiment performed in its pop-up lab.
In jumping aboard Snapchat early and using the platform to engage with younger users through educational content, GE shows it is not afraid to try something new in its marketing.
It continues to post Stories addressing a broad range of subjects.
8. What My Mom Does at GE
TV creative next. It’s rare to see an advert that uses the naivety of children and doesn’t stray into the twee or schmaltzy.
But GE manages it, inspiring childlike wonder through a series of imaginative animations based on (only slight) exaggerations of GE’s work.
9. GE Reports
From Snapchat to something that sounds more prosaic. GE Reports is a microsite hosting lots of debates, analysis and information.
The information is presented accessibly, using imagery and infographics.
Essentially this is just a news publishing hub for GE, with some guest content thrown in, but one that shows how active the company is in linking its work to wider trends.
Some of the content is republished from the brand’s pressroom, and there are a few things that could be improved (such as text formatting), but it is impressive that GE is publishing regularly and offers an email newsletter subscription.
With a company built on knowledge and innovation, showcasing new thinking is important.
10. Emoji science with Bill Nye
Bill Nye was part of the Snapchat team that ran a pop-up lab sending experiments to Snapchat users (see point seven).
GE brought him back for a full web series where emojis are used to help explain scientific concepts.
There are five parts, and each helps to make science relatable for a younger generation.
They are smartly done and enjoyable even for a 30-something like me.
For more top marketing creative: