Serious GE Lightens Up for YouTube Campaign

A Message for Gen-Y: We Care About the Environment

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NEW YORK ( -- GE, known for its aircraft engines, wind turbines, refrigerators, NBC Universal, "bringing good things to life" is also known for offering serious ad messages for serious people.

So why, then, is GE on YouTube working with DeStorm, iJustine, SxePhil, Shaycarl, Smosh and 10 other "cewebrities" to get their green energy "Tag Your Green" message out? Well, kids grow up and GE wants the brand to be considered part of the clean energy solution.

"While traditionally, GE has targeted business executives and influentials, with Ecomagination we're broadening our target audience to include younger consumers," said Judy Hu, GE director for advertising and branding, via e-mail. "They are our future investors, customers, and employees, and we want them to know what GE stands for and engage with our brand."

In partnership with Howcast Media, which creates and distributes mostly "how-to" videos, GE launched a social-media advertising campaign, to spread awareness about Ecomagination, the company's long-term investment in green energy.

So GE employed 15 YouTube celebrities and asked them to make videos telling their followers about GE's commitment to the environment. The YouTubers were also tasked with encouraging their fans to engage with the idea by asking fans to come up with their own inventive ways to make nice with the environment.

The goal was to get 10 million total views by the end of December, but they reached that mark a few weeks early, passing 10 million earlier this week. The campaign landed at No. 1 on the Viral Chart this week with 2.6 million views, up from No. 7 last week.

Videos in the series, such as Michelle Phan's "Eco-Friendly Beauty" (1.1 million total views), opens with a bird's-eye view of verdant forests, and gives genuine instructions on how to curl your hair naturally, without using electricity.

Ms. Phan's followers are mostly teenage girls. And many of the other YouTube personalities that GE has chosen to use (i.e. iJustine, Brittani Louise Taylor and Dave Days) also have audiences predominantly made up of teenagers.

This is GE's second foray into YouTube: In February, it worked with Howcast for the first time to promote Healthymagination, a company public health initiative. But this campaign is proving to be much more successful, which means that in 10 years, GE may quadruple the number of job applications it receives. Or it will just be perceived as a model corporate citizen, which seems to be the idea.

Last Week Brand Campaign Agency Current Week Views* % Change in Views** Watch the Spot
1 7 General Electric Tag Your Green N/A 2,665,236 +215% General Electric: Tag Your Green
2 1 Old Spice Responses Wieden & Kennedy 986,920 -30% Old Spice: Responses
3 6 Evian Live Young BETC Euro RSCG 969,257 +7% Evian: Live Young
4 3 DC Shoes Gymkhana Three In-house 960,636 -21% DC Shoes: Gymkhana Three
5 New Hyundai & YouTube YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 N/A 808,278 New Hyundai & YouTube: YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011
6 8 Geico Really Save The Martin Agency 784,645 +6% Geico: Really Save
7 5 Old Spice The Man Your Man Could Smell Like Wieden & Kennedy 722,126 -31% Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
8 4 Blendtec Will It Blend? In-house 719,637 -34% Blendtec: Will it Blend?
9 9 Old Spice Odor Blocker Wieden & Kennedy 690,119 -3% Old Spice: Odor Blocker
10 Back on Chart Axe Cleans Your Balls BBH 649,213 Back on Chart Axe: Cleans Your Balls
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