New Web Films Tout GE’s Eco-Friendly Inventions

GE’s Ecomagination product and marketing initiative has come a long way since the company introduced it 18 months ago. Back then, the project to advance products “as economically advantageous as they are ecologically sound” was more philosophy than reality. Today the company markets 45 Ecomagination products, including desalination technologies, high tech windmills and super-efficient locomotives. Sales of these products have reportedly surpassed $20 billion.

Naturally wishing to draw attention to its success, GE is rolling out a major branding campaign centered on the initiative, including an upgrade to its Ecomagination Web site. The site, at Ecomagination.com, now includes several short films about the company’s various Ecomagination projects. The Web presence will also feature prominently in GE’s upcoming round of television and print ads.

“It’s showing a range of different products in locations around the world,” said Jennifer Walsh, GE’s global director of digital media. “It’s not a blueprint. It’s real product providing real service to real people.”

Four two-minute films, narrated by actor Kevin Kline, have been published so far, including one about a desalination facility in Algiers and another on photovoltaic solar panels being used to power a California vineyard. Each video is accompanied by additional facts, pictures and supplementary interviews. Eight more showcases are planned by mid-year.

The videos and Web site were produced by Manhattan-based agency Syrup, which also created the earlier, more bare-bones Ecomagination site. GE agency of record BBDO created all offline advertising, including print and TV spots that will prominently feature the site’s URL.

Online advertising was created and brokered by Stinson Partners and Atmosphere BBDO. In addition to traditional media buys, the company has brokered a number of creative sponsorships: A prominent sponsorship of all Reuters’s online and mobile articles related to business and the environment, grouped under an Eco-business heading exclusively associated with GE; an “Environmental Business Plan Challenge” with partner Dow Jones, inviting MBA students and entrepreneurs to submit their best eco-friendly business ideas for the chance to win $50,000 as seed capital; and a college-focused Web initiative at Ecocollegechallenge.com, produced with MTV.

“The Web is really significant,” said Walsh. “It’s the broadest based advertising channel we have. It’s truly a borderless medium…. There’s a PR component, there’s an advertising component, there’s a promotional component.”

In addition to the U.S., GE has advertised Ecomagination in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, India and a few other markets. Print, outdoor and Web advertising have appeared in five languages.

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