GE Lights a Way to the Future

Naturally, it looks bright

Looking for a commercial based on the principals of thermodynamics?

Here's one, from GE, an aspirational film that uses flickering library lamps as visual cues for a brighter tomorrow.

That future encompasses both the conglomerate itself—as it splits into separate aerospace, healthcare and energy operations—as well as young people poised to spark growth and innovation.

GE | Beautiful Law

So much flickering. Let's hope those aren't GE bulbs!

"The first Law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed," the ad says. "But it can be passed on to the next generation."

The film's a pure vibe, a potent, poetic display of emotion. It's extremely mainstream, which suits the brand, and delivers a message of hope that viewers will either find syrupy or sweet, depending on their mindset.

Everything looks a bit intangible, which is fitting, as the scene takes place in a student's head. And those lamps steal the show—in ads, they often do—flashing boldly, even guiding a plane in for a landing.

"Our goal was to represent the last century-plus of GE innovations without having to do a literal march through history," says Matt MacDonald, CCO at BBDO N.Y., which helped develop the campaign. "That's how we landed on the idea of a dream, where all these elements could come together. And like a lot of dreams, we wanted the story to start in a familiar place, but quickly morph into something unfamiliar and otherworldly."

That's a real library, located in the Czech Republic. 

"Their collection was priceless and irreplaceable, so you can imagine the precautions the crew had to take to leave the library as we found it," MacDonald says. 

"The lighting effects that you see at the beginning and the end of the spot are all practical and required us shooting overnights," he recalls. "I think this spot had the most complicated lighting rig of any project I’ve personally worked on."

"After we wrapped each day, we drove back to our hotel through the Czech countryside just before sunrise. In the early morning light, we could see these incredible, perfect-shaped clouds hovering above the pastures. It felt very much like a dream. And I think that inspired some of the images you see in the film."

CREDITS

CLIENT: GE CORPORATE
Chief Marketing Officer: Linda Boff 
Senior Director of Brand Marketing: Nadia Malik 
 
AGENCY: BBDO NEW YORK
Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, BBDO New York: Matt MacDonald
SVP, Senior Creative Director: Kara Goodrich
Creative Director: Cesar Finamori
EVP, Senior Director: Jim Santora
SVP, Senior Director: Lindsey Cash
VP, Account Director: Isabella Dudley
Account Executive: Romney Morgan
Chief Strategy Officer: Nicole Granese
Strategic Planner: Ankit Mehra
SVP Group Executive Producer: Kim Kietz
EVP, Director of Content Production: Alex Gianni
Senior Producer: Chloe Evans
VP, Business Affairs: Kathleen Bannon
Senior Music Producer: Julia Millison
Music Consultant: Wren Schmith

PRODUCTION COMPANY: ANONYMOUS CONTENT
Director: Frédéric Planchon
Managing Director/EP: Eric Stern
VP of Commercials: SueEllen Clair
Head of Production: Ena Nicole Abadjian
Producer: Paul Ure 
East Coast Sales: Paul Muniz
East Coast Sales: Stacie Gillman
 
CZECH PRODUCTION COMPANY: STILLKING
Managing Director: Matthew Stillman
Head of Production / EP: Michal Škop
Executive Producer: Lida Ashwell Ordnung 
Line Producer / EP: Adam Lux
 
EDITORIAL: WORK EDITORIAL
Editor: Rich Orrick 
Managing Director: Erica Thompson
Executive Producer: Alejandra Alarcon
Head of Production: Chris Delarenal
Senior Producer: Samara Kelly
Assistant Editor: Joey Tuzzolino 
 
VISUAL EFFECTS: FRAMESTORE
VFX Creative Director: Vicky Osborn
VFX Supervisor and Compositing Lead: Andre Vidal
CG Lead: Patrick Ross
Concept Design:  Menelaos Peristeridis, Nikola Yordanov, Joe Comeau, Michal Karcz
Previs: Sean Curran, Yarim Machado
CG Animation: Marco Marenghi
CG Asset Modeling: Soren Barton, Kira Yu, Vicky Stuart, Kaho Horiuchi, Stone
Cleven, Jim Vidal
CG Asset Texture/LookDev: Kira Yu, Kaho Horiuchi, Rui Yang, Jim Vidal
CG Layout: Victor Farag, Marco Marenghi
CG Lighting: Richard Shallcross, Joey Sila, Kayla Whitehead
CG FX: Mitch Deoudes, Francois Duchesneau, Ed Twiss
Compositing: Steve Drew, Kane Herd, Danny Popovic, Abhishek Singh, Sang Kim,
Melissa Graff
Matte Painting: Ivo Horvat, Pete Pace, Menelaos Peristeridis, Callum McKeveny
Flame Finishing: Andre Vidal, Devon Taylor
FS VFX Editor: John DiMare
Framestore NYC Head of Studio: Tara Maloney
Framestore NYC Head of Production: Veronica Ware
Executive Producer: Nick Fraser
Bidding Producer: Nadia Brent
Producers: Catherine May
Production Coordinator: Meghana Penumarthi
 
SOUND HOUSE: SONIC UNION
Sound Designer: Owen Shearer
Mix Engineer: Michael Marinelli 
Sound Producer: Mary Kate Valentino

MUSIC: SOUNDTREE
Music title: RECHARGE
Composed by Joel Hartman
Published by Soundtree Music Publishing
Soundtree EP/MD: Jay James

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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