GE today is launching an online campaign called "Invention Donkey," featuring a donkey character that will take over GE's Twitter account for the day and provide custom video tweets to users.
The campaign, which will include other social channels such as YouTube, Facebook and SnapChat, is designed to show how GE is dedicated to creating new ideas and inventions to help businesses and the world work better. The campaign was created by GE's agency partner BBDO New York, with social media handled by VaynerMedia, New York.
"It's comparable to what we did with 'Ideas Are Scary' -- to show that invention is not easy," said Andy Goldberg, global creative director at GE, referring to a TV campaign also created by BBDO New York, which featured an imaginary character who scared away people but ended up being hired by GE to bring his creative ideas to life.
"What we work on is really hard, and we wanted to show it in a new light, from a recruitment and influencer standpoint," Mr. Goldberg said.
In a minute-and-a-half online video that will run on YouTube, GE's website and other channels, a man finds a miniature donkey in his home and it grants him an "invention wish." After a few failed wishes (that don't qualify as "inventions"), the man finally wishes to invent something that will help power the planet. The donkey then shows him all the ways GE is already doing this, with products such as wind turbines and jet-engine technology to help power cities. At the end of the spot, the man says, "That sounds hard. Can't someone else do this?"
Tim Roan, creative director at BBDO New York, said, "The challenge for a lot of big companies is that it's hard to simplify complex stories. GE is doing some very big, very important and very hard things to help make the world work, and we wanted to show that in a fun, smart way."
For the Twitter takeover, GE, BBDO and VaynerMedia will run a social media effort designed to "surprise and delight" GE Twitter followers, Mr. Roan said.
Throughout the day, a social media team will monitor conversations on Twitter, looking for mentions of "invention" and other topics that fit into the "Invention Donkey" concept, and will send users custom video responses featuring the "Invention Donkey."
"The donkey is very smart and very funny -- he is an improv donkey," Mr. Roan said, when asked what types of tweets the donkey might send out. "It will be unexpected."