Flashback Friday — "We Bring Good Things to Life"

When you hear the name General Electric, it is likely the company’s long-running slogan “We Bring Good Things to Life” is also brought to mind. The tagline was introduced in 1970 and was integrated into all aspects of GE’s marketing. Not only did this advertising promote GE’s products and services, but the ads were also created with the intent to launch the company’s new image which emphasized how GE improved people’s lives.
In the early 1970s, consumer research indicated that while GE was viewed as a dependable company by the American public, the “typical” GE consumer was perceived to be unsophisticated, low-income, and older. And because of this, GE was struggling to find brand commitment. GE decided that in order to move forward and gain product loyalty, they would have to completely update their brand. This required the development of single message that could be applied to  all of GE’s various product lines and services. And “We Bring Good Things to Life” (with the help of a $100 million advertising budget) accomplished this for the company.
Nevertheless, that is not to say there weren’t hurdles along the way. At the time GE launched their “We Bring Good Things to Life” ad campaign and rebrand, the company was also heavily involved in the nuclear weapons business. And in an effort to reveal the company’s behavioral contradictions, grassroots groups targeted the company’s medical division. Their campaign included messaging that pointed out that GE was simultaneously polluting earth with radioactive waste from their nuclear weapons production and producing medical systems developed to help diagnose and treat the sick, including individuals poisoned by toxic contaminations.
However, the Cold War ended, and despite the company’s PR dilemma, GE’s “We Bring Good Things to Life” ad campaign proved to be incredibly successful. By the 1990s, research showed consumers saw GE as more approachable, energetic, and progressive than ever before, and its customer base had become much younger and more affluent. The ad campaign lasted for 24 years and was the longest running corporate ad campaign in history.
[FACT: The coffee pot featured in the ad above was recalled after it caused several house fires from a faulty thermostat.] Resources: