GE Imagines a World Where We Treat Female Scientists Like Celebrities

Delightful work from BBDO aims to bridge gender gap in science

Little girls dress as Millie Dresselhaus in fictional world where scientists are treated like celebrities. YouTube: GE
Headshot of Kristina Monllos

Millie Dresselhaus, the first woman to win the National Medal of Science in Engineering, is treated like a Kardashian—photographed, celebrated, followed—in BBDO’s new campaign for GE. The 60-second spot is part of GE’s audacious plan to employ 20,000 women in STEM roles by 2020 and to have 50/50 gender representation in its technical entry-level programs by the same time.

The ad, directed by Nicole Holofcener, shows how celebrating female scientists could help inspire girls to become scientists and help GE find its recruits to meet its 2020 deadline.

“We think that celebrating people, in this case women, who have had great achievements is far more important than celebrating people who are famous for fame’s sake,” said Linda Boff, GE’s chief marketing officer. “There are people out there—Millie Dresselhaus is the one we’ve chosen to highlight—who have done remarkable things and deserve admiration and adulation and holding up those women as role models is a really fun way to shine a light on what we’re calling balancing the equation and addressing what is this industry-wide challenge of getting more women in STEM.”

Added Boff: “Our goal is to have 20,000 women in technical roles by 2020. While we’re really proud of the nearly 15,000 that we currently have in technical roles we’re talking about adding 36 percent more—I would like to highlight that because while I’m thrilled with how the ad is hopefully going to capture people’s attention the heart of this will be more women working in technical roles.”

According to GE’s research, women make up just 13 to 24 percent of IT and engineering programs globally and just 17 to 30 percent join the senior leadership positions.

“The industry numbers are a little sobering,” said Boff. “The data shows that women are still underrepresented in IT and engineering roles—that’s not a GE number, that’s just global—so the fact that we can help inject any urgency into this conversation, that’s something that we’re super proud to be part of.”

Agency: BBDO
New York Client: GE
Title: Celebrate the Real Heroes
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
Executive Creative Director: Michael Aimette
Creative Director: Gary Du Toit
Creative Director: Lance Vining
Executive Producer: George Sholley
Senior Content Producer: Angela Narloch
Head of Music Production: Rani Vaz
Senior Account Director: Kathryn Brown
Account Director: Lindsey Cash
Account Executive: Joslyn Dunn
Assistant Account Executive: Frank Cunningham
Group Communications Planning Director: Yin Chung
Production Company: Bob Industries
Director: Nicole Holofcener
DOP: Danny Moder
Executive Producer: Chuck Ryant
Line Producer: Brian Etting
Editorial: Whitehouse Post
Editor: Charlie Harvey
Assistant Editor: Theo Mercado
Executive Producer: Lauren Hertzberg
Senior Producer: Alejandra Alarcon
Music & Sound Design: Human
Composer: Morgan Visconti
Sound Designer: Michael Jurasits
Executive Producer: James Dean Wells
Visual Effects: Carbon VFX
Senior VFX Supervisor: Kieran Walsh
Executive Producer: Frank Devlin
Senior Producer: Paul O’Beirne
Sound Mix: Sonic Union
Mixer: Michael Marinelli
Color: Carbon
VFX Colorist: Maria Carretero
Executive Producer: Paul O’Beirne

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.