A Look at GE’s Refreshingly Honest and Funny Recruiting Ads

October 6, 2015

GE, a company founded by Thomas Edison, is perhaps the most well known manufacturing company in the world.

And, strangely enough, that’s the biggest recruiting challenge they face at the moment.

For the past few years, GE has been steadily growing GE Digital as part of their goal to be one of the world’s 10 largest software companies by 2020. And yet, they are having trouble recruiting tech talent, as people see them as a manufacturing company, not a tech company.

So, GE decided to run an ad campaign that would directly take on that issue. And, they decided to build it around a relatable character who represented the type of people they are trying to recruit.

Here’s what they came up with: 

As you can see, the ads are built around “Owen,” GE Digital's latest hire. And the company will continue to feature Owen beyond the commercials, including actually bringing the actor through onboarding last week.

“Owen is the embodiment of this fresh new way of thinking and exploring endless possibilities,” Amber Grewal, GE’s Head of Global Digital Technology Recruiting said. “And really passionate about doing what really matters.”

GE Digital has been running other employer branding campaigns as well through social media, although this is their biggest initiative to date. The goal is not just to raise awareness of GE’s software division, but to also brand it as an exciting place to work.

“We want to change the perception that we are this big corporate company,” Grewal said. “We are fun, we are lively, and we build software that makes a meaningful difference in people’s lives.”

The results so far have been impressive. Anecdotally, Grewal said she’s talked with candidates who applied to GE right after seeing the ads, and so far the videos have generated more than 400,000 views on YouTube.

“It’s working,” Grewal said. “There’s a buzz, there’s a vibe. People always tell me it’s their favorite commercial.”

*Image from GE

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