GE is getting a head start on its Olympic Games sponsorship by launching "Drone Week" on Facebook next week, with live videos showing how its technology is helping to power the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"Drone Week" will begin with an opening ceremony featuring a synchronized drone ballet and will include five days of live videos, shot from drones, showing GE's technology at work -- from big data that's helping the Brazilian canoe and kayak team compete to hydroelectric power from Itaipu Dam that will keep the Olympics facilities up and running.
GE worked with The Barbarian Group on the campaign, which will begin streaming at 5:20 p.m. ET on Monday and Friday and at 2 p.m. ET Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on GE's Facebook Live channel.
"The Summer Olympics provides a great canvas to continue to tell the story that GE infrastructure and technology touch a lot of industries -- from healthcare to energy to transportation," said Sam Olstein, global director of innovation at GE.
Last year, GE began testing the waters with drones, launching an experimental "Drone Week" on social media channel Periscope. That content included videos shot from drones of big GE industrial facilities, such as a jet engine testing center in the Appalachian Mountains and a wind farm in the California desert.
"These places are very remote and locked down," Mr. Olstein said. "Drones allow us to bring people behind the curtains to places where our technology plays a role, and where they'd never have access."
He said GE got good engagement from "Drone Week" last year -- including 20,000 viewers on Periscope -- and wanted to bring it to a wider audience.
"This year, it really became clear that 'Drone Week' would evolve to be a global campaign, from an experiment on Periscope last summer, to convey impact, size and scale and showcase all the infrastructure work our teams at GE have been doing in Rio for years now."
He said GE looked at other social media platforms, including Periscope and YouTube, but ultimately chose Facebook because "the social web is being completely driven by Facebook -- I think no one can really deny the traction, engagement and reach that is happening with video on Facebook."
GE will close "Drone Week" with a demo of its intelligent lighting technology, powered by Current, a new GE digital power business.
"Every Olympics, GE gives a legacy gift to the hosting city," Mr. Olstein said. "This year, we are gifting the city a lighting system called Light Grid to illuminate an inner city park."
The lighting system is under development now and will be turned on the last day of "Drone Week."
"The story culminates with the lighting of the park, to show the benefits of intelligent lighting systems and how they can help cities operate," Mr. Olstein said.