Social Media Case Studies

General Electric Teams Up With Jimmy Fallon To Launch #SomeoneShouldInvent Campaign

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish someone would invent __________?”

Inspired by science, technology and innovation, General Electric has partnered with The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to host a series of Fallonventions segments and launch a new crowdsourced #SomeoneShouldInvent social media campaign. From the campaign’s star power, to the unique use of GIFs to bring crowdsourced inventions to life, General Electric has succeeded in raising the bar on social media innovation once again.

During the Fallonventions segments, three young inventors present their creations to Jimmy. The most recent trio on May 8th included an EZ Moo Milk Dispenser, a Pizza Decruster, and the Steth IO, an attachment for your iPhone which mimics a stethoscope by offering audio and a visualization of your heartbeat. Not to be outdone by his 10 and 15-year-old counterparts, Jimmy also shares his own invention ideas, which include Leg Backpacks and Shoe Headlights. It’s not long before hilarity and fun dancing ensues.

The integration on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon served as the launch for General Electric’s crowdsourced social media campaign where fans of the brand were asked to submit invention suggestions with the dedicated hashtag #SomeoneShouldInvent. Inventions were crowdsourced on Twitter and General Electric then brought fan’s inventions to life by creating personalized GIFs. Each GIF serves as a visual prototype of the invention idea and cites the fan who submitted it. The GIFs have been shared across GE’s Tumblr, Twitter and a dedicated Giphy page.

Examples of fan #SomeoneShouldInvent submissions include a Shrinking Car, a Fast Forward Life Remote, Cat Treadmill, and more.

What can we take away from this fun and creative campaign?

Harness the Power of Influencer or Advocate Partnerships

While partnering with The Tonight Show might not be feasible budget wise for many marketers, take inspiration from the strategy behind it.

GE partnered with a well-known celebrity influencer with a loyal built in audience to help raise awareness, participation, and social sharing of the campaign. Even if you don’t have budget to work with a celebrity influencer, consider partnership opportunities with key bloggers or thought leaders in your industry. Another approach is to tap into your most passionate advocates to have them help spread the word. Here’s a great article on how to differentiate between influencers vs. advocates, plus pros/cons of working with each group from Ekaterina Walter.

Leverage Visuals To Encourage Creative Submissions

Simply having a celebrity or influencer partnership is not enough. With the increasingly visual nature of social media platforms, GE was smart to take invention ideas via text from its fans and bring them to life with animated GIFs. Sure, a static image could have worked, but the pop of animation from the GIF takes the user experience to the next level. The end result transforms the fan’s invention idea into a powerful visual that is highly shareable. 

Personalization Matters

When hosting a crowdsourced social media campaign, it’s important to  when possible to thank fans for participating. GE did this by offering a shout out on the GIFs created with the user’s Twitter handle as a way to credit them for their creative ideas. Bonus: Fans will be much more likely to share with their social communities if a company goes above and beyond by personalizing a customized visual for them.

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Screenshot 2014 05 13 15.13.22 General Electric Teams Up With Jimmy Fallon To Launch #SomeoneShouldInvent Campaign
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General Electric Teams Up With Jimmy Fallon To Launch #SomeoneShouldInvent Campaign
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As if Jimmy Fallon's shows weren't enough fun already, GE has partnered with the show to offer some creative Fallonventions as part of their #SomeoneShouldInvent social media campaign.
  • Wordsmith

    Did I mention GE, as a company and within its hierarchy, is totally lacking in integrity? A few years ago, I bought a GE microwave. The label inside the oven stated that it was manufactured in April of 2010. I purchased it in September or October of 2010. In February of 2011, the inside of the oven cabinet began flaking. The peeling got progressively worse and worse until I called them to complain. Now, bear in mind that, at this time, the microwave was only ten months old from the date of manufacture. What did GE say? They would give me a discount on another oven! Excuse me? I’ve only had this thing for a few months and they are going to give me a discount on another one? And what happens when I have to get another one in another year’s time?

    I declined and contacted the home office… repeatedly. Over the next two years, I exchanged calls and e-mails with a number of people in the company. But, by the end of 2012, the microwave had become a hazard. It would spontaneously turn itself on when no one was around and there was nothing in the oven. I would go to work and come home to find any one of a number of messages on the display. Eventually, the buttons on the keypad would no longer work. Oh, you might be able to press one and something would happen… but, not what you wanted. The microwave is now four years old and I haven’t been able to use it in two and a half years. I have since learned, from across the internet, that I am not the only one to be victimized this way.

    The last time I contacted the company, I wrote to the CEO. Amazing how fast that gets someone’s attention! I next got a call from the Regional Manager who operates out of the GE Appliance Park less than fifteen miles from where I live. He indicated that they had no record of me ever contacting the company before. Oh, my. And how convenient. I delineated the problems I had experienced with the microwave and pointed out the short time between manufacture, purchase, and total breakdown. He offered me the same ‘deal’ as the first person I spoke to and I told him this, pointing out that the offer was unsatisfactory the first time and was no better the second and third time around. I was controlled but angry at this point and told him so. I also told him that the offer was insulting and offensive, not so much from a personal perspective but that the company thought so little of their customers that they would feel offering a discount on a new purchase due to a defective product less than a year old would be the appropriate response for a company of GE’s supposed caliber. (I did learn that, on that count, they were firing blanks.)

    His response was to yell at me, “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?”

    I was quite stunned at his response and told him, “Nothing! There is absolutely nothing you can do for me. A year ago, maybe so but, now? No. I don’t want to have anything to do with your company. In which case, I would have expected a reimbursement of the money I spent on [your] piece of garbage but, it you were to send me a check, I would be afraid it would bounce!” I went further and told him that my experience had totally without any modicum of respect of confidence in the company and would never purchase anything from them again. Would not, in fact, ever own anything associated with them, right down to car parts or anything made with anything of GE.

    I gave my mother a microwave for Christmas 18 years ago. It is still going strong. It is not a GE. Gave my daughter a microwave for Christmas that same year. Still going strong. STILL, not a GE. For me? I now only buy LG products and my entire kitchen is thus appointed. And, now, given the connection between GE, The Tonight Show, and Jimmy Fallon, I will no longer watch that show, either.

    I have since purged my entire home of anything with the GE label right down to the light bulbs. I would not have another GE product in my home EVER! I can only hope that, with the current buyout, the new owner will simply shut them down!