Co.Create

The Matrix Returns In A New Campaign For GE

The Matrix franchise has been resurrected for a new GE commercial.

Andy and Lana Wachowski, the sibling team behind the Matrix trilogy and Cloud Atlas, have helped resurrect The Matrix for a television commercial. The 30-second spot, for General Electric's Brilliant Machines campaign, will air on Saturday Night Live on April 13 and features Matrix star Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith.

In the commercial, created by BBDO New York, Agent Smith walks through a fictional hospital and merges with various software GE runs inside the facility. As Smith sees how the software uses data to connect patients with doctors, nurses, and hospital equipment, the Matrix villain explains the basics of the advertiser’s industrial Internet services (watch for the kicker at the end which employs the film’s famous, color-coded device). The commercial was directed by David Gordon Green of Pineapple Express fame.

Why The Matrix and Agent Smith? The Brilliant Machines campaign, which promotes GE’s use of big data in hospitals and government to reduce waste times and inefficiency, uses classic geek pop culture icons to reach out to the public. Speaking to the masses about Hadoop and aggregate data analysis encourages eyerolls, but beloved television and movie imagery doesn’t. Previous commercials from the campaign featured Knight Rider's KITT and Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

As this is 2013 and this is a viral advertising campaign, GE also created a Tumblr of cute robot photos and footage.

“We launched Brilliant Machines to bring the concept of the industrial internet to a large audience,” GE’s Linda Boff told Co.Create. The Matrix commercial is connected to a website, also featuring Agent Smith, called “How Software Sees It.” On the site, Agent Smith walks the audience through a digital hospital recreation and shows how GE’s data and hardware improves patient care. As Boff put it, the challenge for GE was to “tell a story of productivity with machines.”

According to General Electric, this is the first time the Wachowskis licensed out Matrix plot points for advertising. “Part of the reason they agreed was because of the previous installments in the campaign--they loved the use of science fiction,” Boff said.

The Wachowskis’ ambitious 2012 film Cloud Atlas is headed to DVD and digital release this May. In the meantime, the duo are directing a new science fiction series for Netflix with scripts written by Babylon 5's J. Michael Straczynski.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Lana and Andy Wachowski directed the television commercial. The director is David Gordon Green.

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16 Comments

  • Seb

    To Rob Kay:

    That was funny to me too. Praying for you! You are gifted in other ways..the Matrix has you.....

  • Steve

    Sexual predator? Seriously? You people sicken me...you need to yank your heads out of your arseholes.
    Great to see Agent Smith in action again!

  • Chiari Vandrake

    Was really hoping a new Matrix was being developed here I mean I guess I was the only one expecting to hear "Matrix 4 coming to theaters [at a certain date]" I was really getting my hopes up high. I love the Matrix I mean absolutely love the movies!!

  • Viruruiz

    I love it.

    Forgrt about all the crap everyone else says it is just plain clever an fun....

    And the blue vs red candy was the icing...

    Who ever looks at this with different eyes its just sick.

    The Matrix was one of the best movies of its time and bringing it up now its awesome.

  • Corey Achord

    Have you people even seen the Matrix?  It had nothing to do with a sexual predator in action, jeez people.  In the Matrix Morpheus ask Neo if he wants to take the red pill or the blue pill, one pill represented living a lie while the other one represented seeking truth.  So in this commercial he was asking the kid if he wanted great GE service(not my opinion) or the other pill for things to stay the same(long waits in ER room and ect.), it was nothing sexual.  People are too up tight these days and paranoid.  Some things don't need to be looked into that hard are thought about so deep.  And get your mind out the gutter and stop thinking the worst.  Go watch the Matrix people or stop watching it if it makes you that paranoid.  It's not like Hugo put his arm around the kid or had the kid on his lap like Santa Claus he just looked at the kid normal and said blue or red lollipop.  Do you get mad when the dentist or bank teller offers your child candy or a lollipop.  Does that make them sexual predators?  Should Halloween and trick or treating be banished?  
    Anyway I'd love to see a 4th Matrix movie.  When I saw this commercial I thought a new Matrix was fixing to come out and I got excited, that's how I ended up here.  Later.

  • Michael Mangan

    I was very perplexed by the whole thing. But especially the end with the boy and the lollipops. Can someone please explain what it meant ? I notice now that part has been clipped from the commercial. 

  • Biggie

    Creepy commercial.  I thought the end when he offers the child candy looked like a sexual predator in action.

  • Guest

    I thought the commercial was creepy.  Symbolically, the characters represent a negative force which makes me think a manipulation is occurring and the customer should now believe the forces of evil are now for good.  At face value it  is funny until you think about it.

  • matt

    "this is the first time the Wachowskis licensed out Matrix plot points for advertising"

    Don't think this is true, when the matrix came out there was an energy drink ad and some electronics I think the one was a flat tv.

  • Rob Kay

    I am a disabled person who has had many tests and and wakes up each morning at 4AM in pain. This morning I saw the commercial with Mr Smith and not only loved it, but at the end when he offers the young boy a red or blue lolly pop, I laughed so hard, I almost forgot the pain for a few minutes!
    My favorite doctors are the ones that help me keep my sense of humour. Great commercial !

  • Michael Feuerstein

    in other words the child would somehow combine machines and life togather. it is the only way for them to surive is with a machine life also attached to them also. i duno i think it would be cool i wan tto see another matrix, there is os much more room for more story.

  • Michael Feuerstein

    LOOKED EPICILY AWSOME, the MACHINES use trinitys and neos dna to creat there perfect child in hopes that the child will bring about singularity...how would they I WANT TO SEE SINGULARITY AND ANOTHER MATRIX!!

  • Jerri

    Epic fail!
    While it is an interesting concept, it scares the effin crap out of me!
    I see GE as being a life sucking machine and I'll become part of the grid. 
    These guys really need to think things through a bit more. 

  • Jerri

    IHar. 'm not
    paranoid, just annoyed. The commercial has just too deep of a freak-out element
    to it that I think would do more to distance the consumer than to promote GE as a heart warming company. I'm not an expert, but my initial reaction is that it failed as a
    commercial.

    They
    should have done it from the Neo point of view. Put the
    "consumer/Neo" in charge and not some freaky-ass-brain assassin in
    charge

    .

  • Fedup_352

    @Jerri - Paranoid much? Relax, it's just a commercial! And a good one at that.