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GE Puts Creative Spin on Data in Advertisements

  |  February 8, 2012   |  Comments

A story of two product lines, told through the elegant use of data.

GE has introduced two ads that demonstrate the elegant use of data to visualize two (boring) lines of GE business: gas turbine and medical imaging. The ads can be seen on its website and YouTube.

"The campaign is showing the impact of GE employees and technology on the world. We're looking for newer and better ways to tell that story," said Camille Kubie, manager of global brand and design for GE. The online videos featuring data visualization of GE's businesses were created to complement GE TV spots; they will not be aired on TV.

For the medical imaging video, GE said it tracked 125,550 medical imaging scans over 24 hours, representing a fraction of the scans conducted daily by its equipment around the world. Every blue dot originating from a specific location on the globe represents a CT scan and every orange dot an MR scan, according to the text overlaying the charts in the video. A ticker shows the total number of scans per minute.

Curing

In another video, GE points out that nearly 7,000 of its gas turbines generate power for homes and industries around the world. The data represented in this video, however, are more difficult to follow than in "Curing." GE said it measured data from 713 GE-manufactured turbines every 15 minutes for 15 days. Each flash represents a turbine turning on somewhere in the world. And the wheel is arranged according to the capacity of the turbines. The height of the graph represents the maximum output of each turbine, according to the video.

"Each graph shows the power output of a single turbine over the course of a workday. Together, GE gas turbines have produced gigawatts of energy to power the world," the video explains in text overlaying the charts.

Powering the World

The ads, produced with design partner Fathom, come at a time when businesses are seeking ways to use information from internal and external sources - from customers, social networks, and in this case, operations.

"By using its own data, GE is taking an important step toward corporate transparency and demonstrating the positive impact GE employees and products make every day on the world around us," a GE spokeswoman said in a email.

She added that the data visualization series is designed to build on and engage with people who saw two GE Super Bowl ads: "Building Something Big in Louisville" and "Power and Beer".

GE's Super Bowl ads received mixed responses on social networks. In USA Today's Ad Meter, the GE Super Bowl ads scored among the bottom half. Some criticized the ads for being boring, while others criticized the company for not paying more in taxes in the United. States. Other people defended the company and/or its ads. "Cross promotion with Budweiser and GE - pretty cool. Took a boring ad and made it somewhat interesting," @lgfisher tweeted about one GE ad.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Maria Virzi

Anna Maria Virzi, ClickZ's executive editor from 2007 until 2012, covered Internet business and technology since 1996. She was on the launch team for Ziff Davis Media's Baseline and also worked at Forbes.com, Web Week, Internet World, and the Connecticut Post.

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