“Science: It’s a Girl Thing” campaign backfires

What happens when the best intentions meet the lowest bidder? In the EU’s campaign to attract more women to STEM fields, the teaser video gets yanked and somewhere in Brussels, a creative team is getting very, very drunk.

Let me reverse-engineer this and describe what caused this train wreck: money. Whether you budget in euros or dollars, the difference between what an ad agency charges, and what it costs to produce the work, is profit. To maximize profit, certain things are left out. In this case, I’m guessing “research” was left out. Ironic, huh?

Nobody thought to spend any time or money to find out what attracts women to science in the first place. So, the agency fell back on stereotype: high heels, fashion and makeup.

The campaign was launched in Europe, and as awareness traveled from time zone to time zone, the Real Women of Science chimed in on Twitter. It was not pretty.

What do we learn? 1) Don’t patronize and; 2) don’t cheap out on research.

UPDATE: Lots of people searching for this: The Science: It’s a Girl Thing teaser video was produced by the Emakina agency. Tipik is the agency on the overall campaign.

UPDATE #2: I was wrong. It turns out, the EU did indeed hire a group of “gender role” experts to give guidance. But the agency simply ignored them. I don’t know what is worse, not hiring experts, or hiring them and ignoring them.

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Posted in advertising, Business News, creative, social media | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

3 Responses to “Science: It’s a Girl Thing” campaign backfires

  1. Pingback: “Science: It’s A Girl Thing” campaign is reborn | Poller & Jordan Advertising Agency, Miami, Florida

  2. curt rice says:

    Just to update: I ran a “crowdsourcing” contest together with the ESF and prize money, too. I wrote up a summary here, with the 3 winners: Science: It’s your thing! 3 steps to a crowdsourcing success http://bit.ly/Us73hB

  3. curtrice says:

    Glad you found our statement. And I don’t know which is worse, but I leave that you and your colleagues to debate. What’s clear, as you note, is that the launch was a disaster. And as we suggest in our statement, the kinds of issues we recommended for discussion cannot be traced in the teaser — although the website for the rest of the campaign isn’t bad. I wish I could publish the recommendations we made, just to facilitate a transparent post hoc evaluation. But, alas, there are proprietary issues … sigh …

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