GE Makes Its Own Hot Sauce to Attract Millennial Engineers
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Hot sauce is so hot right now.
Earlier this year, before Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton each declared they travel with a bottle of the spicy topping, GE was busy developing a recipe for its own special sauce. Today, the company and partners Thrillist and High River Sauces have begun limited-edition sales of the product.
GE has had difficulty attracting young engineers, who tend to gravitate toward buzzy startups rather than century-old conglomerates. To emphasize its new focus on advanced materials in conjunction with software, the company hopes to woo green talent by demonstrating its expertise in the form of a trendy product.
Named 10^32 Kelvin after the temperature at which “scientists believe all matter ceases to exist,” a 1,000-bottle run went on-sale at 10:32 a.m. ET. It contains the Carolina Reaper and the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the two hottest peppers in the world. The science-themed sauce comes packaged in silicon carbide, a compound that can withstand 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit.
The company has a track record of crafting fiery flavors. At the 2015 SXSW Interactive, GE showcased a “BBQ Research Center” where visitors could observe a high-tech smoker, concoct their own custom sauces using chemistry equipment and hook up to an EEG headset that detected their brain waves as they consumed sweet and savory creations.
Other strategies the company has deployed to capture young people’s attention include Tonight Show segments, podcasts and comic books. It’s collaborated with Thrillist previously, developing a native advertising campaign to promote its line of sneakers reminiscent of the moon boots it helped design for the Apollo 11 astronauts, Bloomberg reports.
GE also told Bloomberg it has seen positive results from a self-aware ad it created in which a young engineer announces he’s been hired to code for the company, then finds himself fielding questions about its longstanding manufacturing reputation.
Chili sauce is a booming industry, and market research firm Euromonitor has forecasted that the popular sauces will bring in $632 million in new sales by 2020. As for whether pandering to millennials by stereotyping their personal tastes is an effective tactic, GE will have to wait and see. In an effort to get millennials to warm up to them, GE has risked getting burned.