Microsoft Urges Girls to Stay in STEM, and Change the World, in Third Year of #MakeWhatsNext

Timed again to International Women's Day

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Little girls dream big in this short film from Microsoft, talking about their passion for curing breast cancer, cleaning up the environment and bringing fresh water to the world. Doctors, inventors, entrepreneurs—it’s easy to envision these determined, articulate and thoroughly woke kids stepping easily into any of these roles.

But hold up. The statistics say otherwise.

Only 6.7 percent of U.S. women and 16 percent of women globally graduate college with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees, the mini-movie tells its participants. Pulling no punches, it continues: “Odds are you won’t solve these problems.”

The youngsters’ faces fall, and their resolve, it would seem, falters. Or does it?

There’s no denying the impact of watching pre-teens full of promise and intellectual curiosity get smacked with brutal reality. It’s heartbreaking. And that’s no accident, according to Microsoft, which wanted to “inject a sense of urgency and scale” to this year’s #MakeWhatsNext campaign, dubbed “Change the Odds” and timed to International Women’s Day.

The 90-second video, from m:united//McCann, sends out this plea: “Change the world. Stay in STEM.” In effect, it’s asking young women to buck the current system, recalibrate the numbers and make a mark in traditionally male fields.

The girls in the video, as it turns out, are undeterred. “There’s always going to be someone who says you can’t do it. I think I can,” says one, while another declares, unequivocally, “I will discover a cure for breast cancer.”

This is the third year of #MakeWhatsNext, with last spring’s video focusing on female inventors. Science-loving girls in the campaign could identify Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and other famous inventors but came up empty when questioned about their female counterparts. Microsoft and m:united launched a series of digital shorts focused on specific women inventors and their work.

For the new campaign, the brand kicks off, a resource for girls interested in STEM that includes an experiential tool with LinkedIn that will show youngsters how to pursue their goals across industries and social causes.

“Change the Odds” will run on broadcast TV and digital channels, and on social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, with a new “conversational ad” on the latter.

Client: Microsoft
Kathleen Hall – CVP, Global Advertising & Media
Deana Singleton – GM, Global Advertising
Jenny Leahy – Director, Global Social and Media Partnerships
Ron Schott – Senior Mar Com Manager
Markus Weickenmeier – Senior Manager, Global Advertising
Vivian Lee – Manager, Global Advertising

Agency: m:united//McCann
Sean Bryan – Co-Chief Creative Officer
Tom Murphy – Co-Chief Creative Officer
Susan Young –Executive Creative Director
Daniela Vojta –Executive Creative Director
David Cappolino – Copywriter
Julie Koong – Art Director
Kelly Kim – Designer
Elina Rudkovskaya – Copywriter, Social
William Montgomery – Art Director, Social
Creative Technology:
David Cliff – Director of Creative Technology
Alicia Foor – Creative Technologist
Aaron Kovan – Director of Integrated Production
Carolyn Johnson – Executive Producer
Rebecca Magner – Producer
Jeremy Adirim – Director of Interactive Production
Charlotte Popper – Interactive Producer
Music Production:
Eric Johnson – Executive Integrated Music Producer
Sam Belkin – Music Coordinator
John Dunleavy – President
Kevin Nelson – Managing Director
Tina Galley – Executive Account Director
Rosemary Calderone – Group Account Director
Sarah Keiber – Group Account Director, Social
Courtney LeBlanc – Account Director
Sam Schmidt – Account Executive
Ellie Choi – Account Executive, Social
Project Management:
Stella Warkman – Director of Project Management
Vinny Tran – Senior Project Manager
Michelle Kiely – Global Director of Strategy
Justin Ballheim – Strategy Director

Tool of North America:
JJ Adler – Director
Oliver Fuselier – Managing Partner, Live Action
Brad Johns – Executive Producer
Greg Jones – Producer
Laura Merians – DP

Cosmo Street Editorial:
Tessa Davis – Editor
Josh Berger – Assistant Editor
Becca Reil – Producer
Yvette Sears – Executive Producer

Framestore VFX:
Sarah Hiddlestone, Head of Production/EP
Karen Czukerberg – Senior Producer
Raven Sia – Senior Producer
Karl Woolley – Head of VR 
Andy Rowan Robinson – Creative Director
Steve Drew – Compositing Supervisor
Raul Ortego – Head of Flame
Beau Leon – Colorist
Jonah Braun – Color Assist
Marc Smith
Abram Seaman
Patrick Ross
Georgios Cherouvim
Georgios Papaioannou
Jacob Slutsky
Glory Zheng
Mohamed Echkouna
Sean Curran
Shayne Ryan
Will Frazier

@TLStanleyLA T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.