GE brought 30 “Grandma Interns” with it to this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
As part of the launch of GE Appliances’ Kitchen Hub, a 27-inch smart screen mounted to a vent hood, the manufacturer is hiring a personable, tech-savvy grandma; and the casting call is open.
“Grandmas have changed,” says spokesperson Wendy Treinen, discussing GE’s Great American Grandma campaign. “They’re using smartphones and FaceTiming with grandkids. We’re bucking the stereotype that grandmas don’t use technology.”
She’s right, of course, as anyone with a modern grandma can attest. Four in 10 seniors owned a smartphone as of 2017, which was double what it was just four years prior, according to Pew Research Center. Internet adoption as well as tablet, e-reader, and social media use among older generations have also increased significantly. “Grandmas are more comfortable with tech than we give them credit for.”
GE’s campaign aims to show off that comfortability, while also emphasizing a sense of connectedness and ease of use. “The story is ‘cooking with people we love,’ and as we talked about functionality, ‘cooking with grandma’ became a big theme,” Treinen says, noting that the Hub’s ability to connect people (via video call) is one its most attractive functions. “What kid wouldn’t want to be able to FaceTime grandma to tell her they just made her famous cookie recipe?”
To apply, “grannies” must send GE a 1-2 minute video explaining why they are a proper fit for the campaign. The deadline is March 1. “We’ve gotten lots of funny videos [and] it’s been a lot of fun to see what’s coming in,” Treinen says. But more than a laugh, what she and the company are looking for is a complete snapshot. “I want a vision of the grandma’s persona and personality—someone with a quirky personality who loves to cook,” she says, clarifying, “it doesn’t need to be fancy.”
“Grandmas are more comfortable with tech than we give them credit for.”
Compensation and requirements for the role, as stated in the original job post, are a $50,000 salary and five new GE kitchen appliances in exchange for 10-15 hours of work a month for a year—between March 15, 2019, and March 15, 2020.
And while Treinen says that the ultimate responsibilities will depend greatly on the grandma—both her personality and capabilities—but the basic duties will include helping with the Hub’s launch and sharing her experiences with technology and cooking and life, really. “We want to cook with this woman in her home—maybe have her share some of her cooking secrets,” she says. “We want to see how tech can help her live, and we want to share that with the world.”