Today I’m going back to a legitimate classic in the world of branded company podcasts. While it doesn’t get the same recognition as milestone podcasts like Serial, the show was a major hit when it came out in 2015, with over 1.2 million downloads in its eight week launch and has over 4000 ratings now on Apple Podcasts. The brand is General Electric, and the show is:
Long before most brands had even broached the idea of making a simple interview podcast, GE was going all out with a scripted, high-production, sci-fi thriller of a show. Panoply (then part of Slate, now part of Megaphone and Spotify) produced the show. The show concept and execution holds up even now with the proliferation of scripted podcasts available to listen. You’re best off starting on the show without too much advanced knowledge of what it’s about - all you need to know is that it’s an adventure based around decoding an audio message with mysterious and dangerous implications.
Then, GE followed up the original show with LifeAfter, a totally different concept still grounded in the limits of technology. It’s also an immersive scripted story and a great follow up to The Message. The GE Podcast Theater didn’t continue beyond these two shows, which is a shame because there are still so few great examples of scripted fiction from brands.