Just kidding! Happy April Fools 2012 :-)
American corporate icon General Electric (NYSE: GE) said this week it plans to donate and distribute 1,000 eco-efficient black and day-glo lights at this year’s annual Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
The surprise donation was announced at a press conference March 30 by GE chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt, after he was peppered by aggressive questions from press representatives tackling issues ranging from Earth Day to Occupy Wall Street.
“I think you’ll find that a new style of GE is emerging,” Immelt said, referencing the way the company’s uses a lowercase “e” for its ecomagination business unit, as well as new corporate social responsibility and philanthropy efforts landing in unexpected places. Immelt simultaneously pulled an iPhone 4 from his suit jacket pocket and said he was Tweeting the announcement at the same time he was verbally announcing it.
The black and day-glo light campaign, which GE is dubbing ‘1,000 Points of Light,’ is part of a larger outreach campaign to progressive Americans, who Immelt said felt disenfranchised upon learning GE paid no federal taxes in 2010. Immelt said he is hand-picking and sending a team of 12 top GE executives to the Black Rock Desert in late summer to hand out the lights and also participate in many of the Burning Man festival’s ritual annual fire dances.
“I’ll send the best we have, and while they may be wearing suits they will also be representing an increasingly creative and imaginative side of GE,” Immelt said.
The plan did not surprise some Burning Man enthusiasts, who said corporate influence was reaching a fevered pitch at the festival. In 2011, top executives and commissioned scientists from ExxonMobil attended the event as part of a “tribe” called “Let’s Get On With It,” which hosted workshops teaching attendees best practices for exascerbating climate change through the ritual burning of everyday wood and plastic items fashioned into armies of little “Burning Men.”
One annual Burning Man attendee who goes by the name Lunar Feathers, 34, said she would keep an open mind to the 1,000 Points of Light campaign. “I might have paid more taxes than GE in 2010,” said Feathers, who then paused before admitting she didn’t report any income from her part-time babysitting jobs.
Flickr Commons image by Michael Holden.