GE is taking over Lena Dunham’s newsletter this week to honor women in science
Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter is spending the week talking about the importance of women in science thanks to a check from General Electric.
The web publication and newsletter kicked off a weeklong branded content deal its first ever with the industrial giant on Tuesday with a wide-ranging interview between Dunham and Beth Comstock, GE’s vice chair of business innovations.
The Girls creator asked Comstock about the state of women-focused media and marketing, hurdles and successes in her career and how GE helps women better break into technology and science.
The Fairfield, Connecticut company is mentioned often and the marketing message made unusually blunt for a piece of branded content, which typically keeps sponsors’ involvement subtle in the interest of luring advertising-adverse readers. Dunham’s tone keeps the interview light and colloquial, nonetheless.
But GE said its other installments look beyond the company to more broadly celebrate the role of women in the industry. The newsletter is rounding out the week with a sci-fi narrative from author Alice Sola Kim, an interview with Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani and GE technology-inspired art from Rachel Levit Ruiz.
GE has proven itself to be a big believer in this type of content marketing; it frequently buys article placements in online publications across the board and has even gone so far as to launch its own tech news site.
The company saw Lenny Letter as a creative way to reach a certain digitally tuned-in female audience, said Alexa Christon, GE’s head of media innovation.
“We were really impressed by ‘Lenny,'” Christon said. “They’re really pushing the envelope in sometimes difficult conversations. But also, they’re not a mass outlet. They go after a niche audience that is very, very engaged.”
Since Dunham and Jenni Konner founded it last fall, the feminism-focused publication has launched a website to compliment its biweekly newsletter and signed a major deal with Hearst to help sell display ads on it. At the time of the deal, the site also announced plans to build out more sponsored content.
Dunham has described the newsletter’s audience as “an army of like-minded intellectually curious women and the people who love them, who want to bring change but also want to know, like, where to buy the best tube top for summer that isnt going to cost your entire paycheck.”
Well-placed branded articles and videos and other advertising efforts have helped GE hone a brand image as a hub of science and innovation a helpful asset as the rise of tech titans like Google, Apple and Facebook threatens to make the 123-year-old Thomas Edison-founded corporation look stodgy in comparison.
“The company’s really pivoted over the past five or so years,” Christon said. “We’re really focused on where industry and big data combine and really pushing into a phrase that we use being ‘digital industrial.'”
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