General Electric: Extremely Bad Liars




While cautiously perusing the Huffington Post the other day, my morbid curiosity bested me: I clicked on a GE ad on the right of the page which had a faux-naive drawing of a cow on it.  I proceeded to be accosted by an uber-cute, child-like animation of a day glow, up-beat, sultry-yet-approachable taking cow telling me that besides continuing to offer herself to me for food, she was now going to provide me with clean energy.  According to this every-cow, the "geniuses" at GE found a way to turn her waste into "renewable" power.

They forgot to leave a section for feedback from me, the viewer — an oversight that seems endemic in the new-media advertisement age.  Here's my response:

Dear GE,

I'd like to call your attention to a few factual errors in your advertisement.

  • You did not discover trapped methane power.  As you well kow, subsistence farmers, collectives, environmentalists and bio-engineers have been using and developing this technology for a century. 
  • Cows are not happy, or renewable.  They require immense amounts of non-renewable resources, and your cartoon personification of such an unfortunate creature is perverse considering the objectification you are violently enacting upon living beings when you label them as renewable.  
In short, I don't want your animal concentration camp energy.  Your coinage and use here of the word "ecomagination" is a crime against the English language, not to mention any semblance of advertising ethics.  You and whatever shit ad agency is responsible for this disgusting piece of work can kindly go fuck yourselves. 
Sincerely, etc., etc.


Un/fortunately, I can't find that ad online now, but a quick and nauseating perusal of the Ecomagination YouTube channel has provided me with more lovely examples of the kind of advertising employed by large corporations when they know you'd have to be an idiot to believe what they are saying.  First: treat the audience like a 5 year old. Second: create cartoon-like parodies of utopic worlds so absurd that they make even the most level-headed viewer question their grasp on reality.  Perhaps the slight cultural distance from their Chinese ad campaigns can illustrate this even more effectively:

And while the Chinese audience is presumably swayed by industrial and technological visions of paradise, we Americans require that familiar stink of nostalgia to make us so confused we give up:

I hope Donovan feels like a total ass for selling them his song "Catch the Wind".  (Is it possible that he was in fact thinking about trapped farts when he wrote it?)

We American consumers shouldn't be proud of GEs evident belief in our being more effectively stultified by saccharine pastoral landscapes, folk music and the dreams of children than our Chinese counterparts.  GE has also wisely provided Americans with sufficient amounts of the cartoon mockery of our intellect —  technique we arguably are responsible for imagineering:

This is of course just a minute bump on the landfill of big energy advertising pretending to pander to our concern for the environment while slapping us in the face with the complete absurdity of entrusting the fate of the planet to profit-seeking criminals who spend the other 98% of their time wreaking devastation.  Nevertheless, I think it is important to attempt to convert some of this waste into useful thought.