UPDATE II: An official word from the EC science comms spokesman:
#sciencegirlthing aims to attract women to science. Launch video distracting from that.It has gone. science-girl-thing.eu
— Michael Jennings (@ECspokesScience) June 23, 2012
This is a good move. I also like this:
OK scientists, we've heard you and we want to keep hearing you: Help us build a list of #realwomeninscience: twitter.com/#!/EU_Commissi…
— European Commission(@EU_Commission) June 22, 2012
I've read that the campaign's target audience is girls age 7 to 13, or at least they held 5 focus groups of girls in that age range for something. That's younger than the "millenials" category. Looking at the video though, I still think it misses the mark for the audience. The ad firm will likely look at its research methods. Either that or I weep for the future.
UPDATE: The European Commission pulled their video (though it exists elsewhere). Smart to eliminate that distraction. Now they should focus on what their target audience thinks is important and demonstrate the relevance of STEM. They'd be smart to ask the many critics of the video to participate.
The Twitterverse 'sploaded over #sciencegirlthing, a new campaign intended to encourage girls in the European Union to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. They include some good profiles of women in STEM, but they also have this:
and I find it interesting that within minutes we learned that the ad firm that produced it also did this:
Scientists, especially female scientists, are not pleased. And the damage control begins, and frankly it's not good:
Lots of comments on #sciencegirlthing vid. 45 seconds of fun for launch to grab attention.Not central to main campaign.
— Michael Jennings (@ECspokesScience) June 22, 2012
This video should be pulled immediately. It distracts from the central purpose of the campaign. It shouldn't be pulled simply because it's silly and offensive to many female scientists. It should be pulled because it's clear the video won't appeal to its target audience - millenial women. Millenals care about contributing to something greater than themselves. They don't like stereotypes. They want to know that what they do produces results - quickly. Makeup and glamour and all that are fun, but they're not what dominates your life. Millenials don't expect to be in a single job their whole lives. Millenials want to know why whatever it is you're selling is relevant to them - in a meaningful way.
This video reflected none of the well-established research on what the target audience wants. Instead it just re-purposed the strategy selling the smartphone app that lets you "take pictures of yourself" with soccer babes.
I think the EC went to an ad firm, and said, "we want you to make science sexy." What they should have done is asked millenial women what was important to them and then tried to make the case that careers in STEM would help them achieve that.
This stuff isn't hard, people.
You want role models? try #realwomenofscience.