General Electric is no stranger to branded content, or Adam Savage. Last year, the company launched a 12-part YouTube series in which the former "Mythbusters" host debunked idioms like "a snowball’s chance in hell." The goal was to demonstrate the science behind GE’s industrial products.
Today, the marketer follows the "Unimpossible Missions" series with a new one. Titled "GE in the Wild," the show brings back Savage, but this time with a co-host, CBS’s "Innovation Nation" science correspondent Alie Ward. Both self-proclaimed science geeks will crisscross the globe to visit GE’s labs and document advancements in energy, healthcare and transportation.
"I've always been obsessed with peeking behind the curtain and seeing how things really work, both big and small," Savage said in a press release. "GE gave us unbelievable access to their facilities and to their fantastic people. I could have spent another week at every single location."
While "Unimpossible Missions" was developed by BBDO New York, "GE in the Wild" was produced by the storytellers from GE Theater and IMG. The first episode focuses on additive manufacturing, which is a type of 3D printing that can form substantial parts for machines like a gas turbine. Later episodes will zero in on the employees who’ve named their machines after "X-Men" characters and one woman who used science to fashion her husband’s wedding band. Every chapter will feature a new location, like an offshore GE oil and gas facility or a commercial airline hangar where GE tests its GE9X airplane engines.
"At GE, we’re constantly innovating to make the world better," said CMO Linda Boff in a statement. "’GE in the Wild’ pairs information and entertainment to celebrate the amazing work that GE employees and our customers are doing every day."
New episodes will appear each week on GE’s YouTube page.
The new series continues GE’s use of entertainment media to brand itself as a company obsessed with innovation. In 2015, it launched the television series "Breakthrough" on the National Geographic Channel, which followed scientific breakthroughs on subjects like the Ebola virus and was directed by Hollywood A-listers like Peter Berg. Its second season is airing now.
That same year, GE launched its first scripted podcast, "The Message," which netted 4.4 million downloads, a Bronze Clio and a Gold Lion at Cannes. A year later, it debuted its sophomore podcast "LifeAfter," a drama that followed an FBI agent who spoke to his dead wife through artificial intelligence.
Plus, GE tackled the touchy subject of suicide in a native advertising campaign with Mic.com, garnering 1 million page views in return.
In a 2016 interview, Boff told Campaign US that one of her top goals as CMO was to make the brand more personal, and that branded content was a primary platform for that goal. "We strive to be as relatable, as human as possible," she said.