'Vanity Fair' gives GE green light

Placement: Vanity Fair, August

Placement: Vanity Fair, August

General Electric is a vastly diverse company. What were your plans to convey that GE is environmentally friendly, as well?

Linda Boff: GE launched a campaign called Ecomagination in 2005 to convey to the world that GE believes that green technology and solutions will meet customer needs and be good for the environment. Ecomagination involved not [just] PR and marketing, but the entire company, led by our chairman.

What made it Vanity Fair a good target, and how did you pitch reporter Amanda Griscom Little?

Boff: We wanted people to talk about GE in places they don't normally talk about us, so we looked at publications that get people talking. Vanity Fair was at the top of that list. We had gotten to know Amanda, who's a well-known environmental writer and Vanity Fair contributor, when we launched Ecomagination, so I worked with my colleague Jim Healy and our agency Edelman on a pitch for her, and she, in turn, pitched it to Vanity Fair's editors.

Griscom Little ended up interviewing GE researchers, scientists, and executives around the world. Did you media train these subjects?

Boff: No, part of the appeal of this story for Amanda was the rawness in hearing directly from GE people in their own words, so we didn't do any media training.

There was plenty of travel involved in this story - was that a major challenge? What other obstacles had to be overcome?

Boff: Logistics were by far the biggest challenge because we took Amanda from Schenectady, NY, to Cincinnati to Tampa, FL, to the Irish Sea, and arranging all that was complex.

What was the impact of the hit?
The August Vanity Fair story has been blogged about by the top environmental sites. It also triggered plenty of radio coverage.

Name: Linda Boff, director of employee marketing, GE (Fairfield, CT)

Placement: Vanity Fair, August

Pitch timeline: Nine months

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