GE is running a new ad that seems to offer the message that most people are ignorant and stupid.
It shows a sort of awkward, geeky smart guy-- the kind actor Jeff Goldblum has played- trying to explain what he's doing at his new job at GE. His friends respond like idiots making really stupid remarks, asking idiotic questions.
I find it offensive.
Here's the video:
reports that GE is attempting to raise people's awareness:
"The admirably self-deprecating campaign, bluntly titled "What's the Matter With Owen?", is designed to reinforce GE's position as a digital industrial company--and recruit young people to join the company as industrial Internet developers."
Well, I'm sorry GE, and your ad agency BBDO, but consumers not knowing something about a company is a very common challenge to companies. Hundreds of thousands of ads have been created to deal with that situation. It is not the fault of consumers if they don't know what GE does. It is General Electric's failure.
It would be easy to run ads showing that people don't know about what GE does... without portraying them is stupid idiots, as the ads BBDO created for GE do. It would be easy to make funny, engaging ads that work to recruit smart young people. They could be making ads that show the new hiree to be smart and savvy, not geeky and clueless, because yes, they also portray their new employee as being a different kind of helpless fool, lacking agency.
The thing is, this ad campaign-- yes there are a whole collection of ads showing how stupid Americans are-- tells us what General Electric thinks of its customers-- that we are stupid and ignorant. Of course, this involves some cynical ad creative people and some corporate marketing people who all signed off on this snarky, nasty campaign.
We know that in recent years, General Electric has paid next to no taxes
. This ad campaign suggests that they think we're all stupid. We should show them we are not-- and get them to
1-kill the ad campaign
2- start paying taxes like members of the middle class pay, instead of evading them, including keeping them offshore
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