This Historical PSA Powerfully Encourages Girls to Defy Stereotypes and Pursue the Sciences

Ogilvy's campaign with Chemours stars a young Marie Curie

An actress playing a young Marie Curie Chemours
Headshot of Lindsay Rittenhouse

Women throughout history have made countless noteworthy contributions to science, technology, engineering and math. Yet today, they still only hold a scant 29 percent of jobs in STEM, according to the advocacy group National Girls Collaborative Project.

With a powerful new campaign highlighting just a few of those contributions, chemical company Chemours aims to encourage young girls to pursue careers in the sciences.

The three 30-second YouTube videos created by Ogilvy New York and its production unit tell the stories of three prominent female pioneers in STEM: chemistry teacher, writer and civil rights activist Josephine Silone Yates; physicist and chemist Marie Curie; and bacteriological chemist and refrigeration engineer Mary Engle Pennington. The monologues, which are delivered by actors playing the women’s younger selves, were created for Chemours in honor of National Chemistry Week, an annual campaign spearheaded by the American Chemical Society to get more students interested in careers in chemistry.

The spot below features the young Marie Curie:

The videos tell the stories of women overcoming early 20th-century barriers to enter the sciences. Yates, the first black woman to head a college science department, was told she “wouldn’t amount to anything.” Colleagues said Curie, a pioneer in radioactivity research and the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, “would never succeed.” And men mocked Pennington, who helped improve sanitation standards for the handling of milk, and said she “belonged in the kitchen.”

Chemours launched as a DuPont spinoff in 2015 and aims to break down the stereotypes that prevent women from entering and excelling in the STEM field. In 2016, Ogilvy’s National Chemistry Week campaign with Chemours won Shorty and Echo awards for best art direction.

The videos in the campaign will be promoted on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Agency: Ogilvy New York
Client: The Chemours Company
Campaign: “Celebrating Women in Science”

Group Creative Director:  John Long
Copywriter: Reid Masimore
Art Director: Leslie Diez

Managing Director: Rasika Narang
Worldwide Managing Director: Sandeep Vasudevan
Management Supervisor: Katherine Connolly

Production Coordinator: Amanda Kresge
Producer: Danielle Magee

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.