That "Sixteen Tons" GE commercial

Now I’ve gone and forgotten the name… it’s something like “Imaginenergy” but not that awkward. They also have a commercial with an elephant dancing in the rain. Anyhow - have you seen this Sixteen Tons commercial? Very stylishly shot coal miners, including some scantily-clad women and some John Henry types, all in black and white. It ends with a voiceover about GE’s new energy alternatives. Throughout the commercial, the song Sixteen Tons is playing, including these lyrics:

“You load Sixteen Tons, whaddaya get?
Another older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store.”

Can someone please explain to me exactly what this commercial is pushing? A return to blacklung?? Because frankly, good-looking models aside, this ad does not make me want to refit my home for a coal furnace!

Seems like the same logic employed by the ad wizards who used CCR’s “Fortunate Son” for a Wrangler Jeans commercial.

It’s pushing the most ecologically devastating energy industry in America as environmentally friendly.

Yeah, that was what I thought, too.

Why, now?

Probably to shore up the declining coal industry in the mid-Atlantic with some good PR, what with all the various stinks about mountain top removal mining, acid mine drainage, runaway coal fires, and endangered mussels, amphibians, and fish.

And they used a protest song about shitty coal mine conditions to push a pro-coal commercial. Ballsy.

And maybe to start laying the PR groundwork for the fact that the know there’s still a shitload of coal under there, and they must start digging harder, deeper, and messier to get to it, if they want to catch back up with the Western coal industry, which just surpassed a declining mid-Atlantic industry in total tonnage two years ago (I believe.)

But it’s apparently alternative coal mining, with hot chicks. :rolleyes:


I see the spot a lot on NBC. I cant imagine why. :rolleyes:

But I got the feeling it was a “hooray for us” give us a pat on the back with an atta boy spot.

I think they are just saying that This is what we are doing. Alot of the other commercials for GE run with the same “template”. -The one with the heart scan device taking only 5 seconds… the Water Standards announcement.
In short, I think that the commercials for those people who work “behind the scenes” high up in well High up (Large-LARGE) companies. But, GE has to get its face time among more people.

I simply appreciate the commercial for it’s artistic value.

Mmmmmm… Cooooal… :slight_smile:

Thank you, that was driving me nuts.

Yeah, QuickSilver, I think it’s a stunning commercial visually. It gets into your head and stays there, which is, I suppose, the purpose of advertising. I’m just completely appalled by the premise.

Ack! You’re gonna summon Una Person! :wink:

I confess that I find the tap-dancing elephant adorable. I didn’t even realize it was promoting the same vague non-product as the Sixteen Tons commercial until now. The coal mine commercial got a huge WHOA from me as well. Making coal mining sexy is a little odd, but combining it with a song (great song, of course) that essentially describes being in bondage to the company machine is just … wrong on so many levels. The history of labor abuses in the American coal industry is pretty weighty, I’m not sure a sexy commercial is the most appropriate forum to address that. And on a purely ad campaign level, shouldn’t there be some rule about not using songs that contain the lyrics “deeper in debt” when trying to push any sort of product or industry?

Of course, I’m the same person who was hooked on a tap-dancing elephant, so maybe the ad people do have a better sense of the American consumer pysche than I do. :o

Actually, the tap-dancing elephant bothers me, too. In the first place, despite all the advances in CGI, it still looks fake. And not just because we know elephants don’t do tap-dancing without serious re-education. In the second place, I couldn’t figure out what the hell it was supposed to be advertising. GE is making tap-dancing elephants? GE is doing CGI? The idea that the elephant is dancing because it’s happy that GE is supposedly eco-friendly is too big a leap.

Now, if that black and white commercial had ended with Derek Zoolander coming in with his pickaxe I might just have wet my pants.

-Joe, graduate of the Derek Zoolander School for Kids who can’t Read good and Stuff

They say at the end of the commercial ‘Making coal more attractive’ or something in that vein.

I love you, Merijeek. :smiley:

Ah, I see. The fakeness is the part that I like. I think a real elephant (a more real looking CGI elephant, rather) would be more disturbing, because then I would worry more about the actual impact of GE on the elephant’s life and times.

I did have the decency, even while cooing over the tap-dancing elephant, to remind myself that cute pachyderms are clearly the opiate of the people and that I am being lulled into a false sense of environmental security.

So they can give me a raise.

I hope.

You may do so one day. IIRC, the USA has something like 20 years of petroleum reserves, vs. 500 years of coal reserves. As the price of oil goes up, coal will be cleaned up and used more and more.

It’s already the largest source of electric power in this country, and has been for some time.