Here’s how my wife read the lede in the Wall Street Journal article this morning: GE Chairman and Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt takes to the stage…Saturday Night Live…to brief investors on GE’s outlook for 2009.
Hmmm, I thought. A new approach for corporate communications. We know that John McCain used Saturday Night Live in an late bid to prop up his presidential run. Earnest entrepreneurs, authors and humanitarians regularly take their beatings on the Colbert Report. Anything for some airtime. Entertainment is blending with business, politics and news. So the idea of Immelt using Saturday Night Live to disclose disappointments in his energy unit made a certain sense.
But how could they make it funny? Was Immelt going to deliver his announcements in a skit? Or guest anchor on the news? I was wracking my brain trying to figure it out when my wife saw her mistake: He’s only going use the SNL stage to deliver his message.
Still, the fact that it didn’t shock me at all, I think, indicates how far we’ve gone in blending entertainment into information. A spoonful of sugar, as Mary Poppins used to sing, makes the medicine go down, in the most delightful way. Maybe Immelt should rethink.