Describing her company’s approach to choosing audience channels for its creative messages as “almost peripatetic,” GE Chief Marketing Officer Linda Boff predicts that media technology will become commoditized but never breakthrough creative.
Having sold off most of its financial services holdings, the GE brand is now about energy, health and transportation and becoming a “digital industrial company,” Boff says in an interview with Beet.TV. Its media choices range from live sports to late night entertainment, Internet venues like NowThisNews to Facebook Live.
“We are almost peripatetic in that we want our content to be places where people are going to discover it,” says Boff.
GE wants to come off as human and accessible, so it’s been running a campaign from agency BBDO in which the recurring character, Owen, tries to explain to family, friends and others why he took a job as a coder with GE. The company ran two 30-second ads during the Red Carpet pre-show at this year’s Oscars and one spot during the live broadcast of the 88th annual awards show, Advertising Age reports.
“It’s self deprecating, it’s a little humble and fun,” Boff says of the campaign, which recently launched in France and is coming to China.
She believes the “single most powerful thing” is breakthrough creative. “Our industry is seeing terrific technology, the ability to buy media in a different way and use technology to monitor that media. All of that is great,” Boff says. “But that will ultimately become a commodity. What I don’t think ever becomes a commodity is how do you tell your story in a way that’s innovative.”
Looking ahead to the Cannes ad festival, Boff hopes for the kinds of conversations that are more typical of a South by Southwest gathering than an annual confab where the biggest executives mingle with one another. She’d prefer that some startups were in attendance.
“I think there’s room at Cannes for sort of a conversation where you have a variety of players around the table,” says Boff. “Great things can come from that serendipity.”
This interview is part of our series “The Road to Cannes”, presented by FreeWheel. Please visit this page for additional segments.