GE Uses Back to the Future DeLorean in a Commercial to Talk About Turbine-Generated Power

We’ve seen GE effectively use a NASA rover and KITT from Knight Rider to discuss jet engines and locomotives. These commercials are part of the brand’s Brilliant Machines advertising campaign launched in 2012. The company is again using 1980’s nostalgia to promote their turbine hardware and software with imagery from the Back to the Future movies. The new spot is called “The Future is Now” and features a flying DeLorean and the voice of actor Michael J. Fox.

GE is developing a narrative around science and science fiction that bridges the gap between their audience and their products. GE is using iconic vehicles like the Knight Rider 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, NASA Mars Exploration Rover, and Back to the Future DeLorean to tell a simple tale about complex problem solving.

I wonder what such a narrative might look like coming from NASA or SpaceX. NASA scientists have previously worked with Disney on space exploration edutainment campaigns and movies about Mars. I also see seeds of a scifi/science campaign in the comparisons of Elon Musk and Tony Stark. Mr. Musk seems to relish such comparisons and doesn’t hide the fact that he’s been influenced by Iron Man.

Examining what makes these campaigns effective improves my work. I’m starting to understand the true value of my comic book collection and how I may leverage it toward communication design. Are you doing similar? If GE can use KITT and a flying DeLorean to sell multi-million dollar hardware, I know we can be using our games, toys, and comics toward science and technology education.

Dennis "Fox" Bonilla has been a user experience designer, software developer, and digital strategist collaborating with some of the most successful and high-tech organizations in the world. Fox is a co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer at Baltu Technologies where he is helping create next generation workforce development tools. Fox started Unified Pop Theory with his friends in attempt to bookmark and comment on novel intersections of technology, science, and the arts. Fox is a trend finder and idea maker who is inspired by individuals that believe the world can be changed one great project at a time. Fox can be reached on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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