GE "What's the Matter with Owen?"GE may have changed their tagline more than a decade ago after almost 25 years but they are still bringing good things to life… and I’m not talking about lightbulbs and appliances or jet engines and wind turbines. In September, GE launch a new campaign called “What’s the matter with Owen?” on late night TV. This campaign featured in AdAge and AdWeek is designed to serve a dual purpose: to position GE as a digital industrial company AND to recruit young professionals to join GE.

What was interesting to me from a branding standpoint is how the campaign successfully positions GE as both an industrial company (their past) and as a digital company (their future). Recognizing the value of the both/and is something we at KHJ take very seriously, just ask our CEO and President Judy Habib. Both/and is her personal “brand expression”. Finding your own personal “brand expression” is a rite of passage all new KHJ’er go through as part of their onboarding process and a key component of our employer brand.

The way GE expresses its employer brand in these spots is another thing I found very interesting about the campaign. Everyone I shared the ads with at the office was impressed by how fearlessly GE took on the old industrial stereotype. Simply by addressing these stereotypes head on with humor and a bit of heart, they gave viewers (and prospective employees) a glimpse into their corporate culture…and it is not what might be expected. With close to 5,500 open jobs on their careers website and almost 450 open jobs in the GE Software division alone, I’m sure the folks at GE are hoping the team at KHJ the only ones who connected with their strategy. A strategy, by the way, that is similar to the approach we are taking with a new recruitment campaign we are currently developing for Aspen Dental.

The challenge Aspen Dental faces is attracting young dentists to join their rapidly growing network of highly successful branded practices in the face of negative chatter about corporate dentistry overall and Aspen Dental specifically. The new campaign won’t be live for a few more weeks but like GE, our ads will use humor to debunk some myths and present an employer value proposition that will resonate with our target.

When the campaign goes live, we’ll be sure to share it here. We think, like GE, Aspen Dental is bringing good things to life and we are proud to be their partner.

Kim Pepper is a VP/Senior Strategist at KHJ. Want to meet and talk about your brand strategy and activation program? Give us a call at 617-241-8000.