Ad Review Rating: 1 1/2 stars GE IMAGE AD IS NOT AMONG GOOD THINGS IT BRINGS TO LIFE

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As a public service, Ad Review is prepared to save you a lot of trouble in viewing the new General Electric Co. global image spot from BBDO Worldwide, New York.

Oh, you can still watch it. It's only 60 seconds, with nice pictures of international landmarks and fine GE products, plus, of course, plenty of bouncy lyrics about how GE is approximately as important to your life as God, only with a bigger aerospace subsidiary. A sample:

Funny how so many industrial giants want to take credit for the wonders of modern technology, but the best they can do to articulate the fruits of progress is to speak vaguely of "things." Still, General Electric's "We bring good things to life" is a slogan with priceless equity. What it lacks in substance it compensates for in buoyancy and familiarity-somewhere between Du Pont's understated, credible "Better things for better living" and Dow Chemical's overwrought, disingenuous, "Dow lets you do great things."

In GE's new, relentlessly upbeat montage, the pictures of the Great Wall and the Louvre and the Indian child in the magnetic resonance imager document how the good General is in every corner of the globe bringing to life good things. Presumably that's why everybody in the spot is wearing a broad smile, including the kid with the possible brain tumor.

And here's where the Ad Review staff can help you. Laugh at what you will, but don't bother looking for Julia Sweeney and Phil Hartman to appear. They aren't in the spot. We looked and looked.

Apparently, despite all evidence to the contrary, this commercial is actually meant to burnish the GE corporate image and is not a "Saturday Night Live" parody.

Fooled us. Now, obviously, an image ad is by definition self-serving. The problem arises when a commercial is so ludicrously Pollyanna and fatuously self-aggrandizing that it virtually dares the viewer to supply different answers than the ones the company provides. We can be of some assistance there, as well.

What are we doin' here? Bein' indicted with the folks at DeBeers, charged with diamond price fixin' for years! What are we doin' here? Losin' billion-dollar Mars probes at the launch, settling suits with denials so staunch. Breast implants that were a bust, direct broadcast antitrust. Bond trading scandals at Kidder P., Johnson Space Center bribery, Letterman bolting NBC! What are we doin' here?

Not to suggest General Electric is the embodiment of industrial evil. It isn't. But neither is it the quintessence of corporate virtue-which may come as discouraging news to the people who created this spot. They need, however, to face reality. If, say most Lubavitchers can finally accept that their recently deceased and thus far unresurrected spiritual leader Menahem Schneerson was not the messiah, maybe BBDO can believe that GE Plastics isn't, either.

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