|Title||REIMAGINING THE FUTURE OF STEM|
|Product / Service||WOMEN IN STEM AMBASSADOR|
|Category||A07. Not-for-profit / Charity / Government|
|Entrant||PHD Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Idea Creation||PHD Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Idea Creation 2||WOMEN IN STEM AMBASSADOR SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA|
|Idea Creation 3||TOTALLY AWESOME Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Media Placement||PHD Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Media Placement 2||WOMEN IN STEM AMBASSADOR SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA|
|Media Placement 3||TOTALLY AWESOME Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|PR||WOMEN IN STEM AMBASSADOR SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA|
|Production||PHD Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Production 2||WOMEN IN STEM AMBASSADOR SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA|
|Production 3||TOTALLY AWESOME Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Post Production||PHD Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Post Production 2||WOMEN IN STEM AMBASSADOR SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA|
|Post Production 3||TOTALLY AWESOME Sydney, AUSTRALIA|
|Remi Baker||PHD||Strategy Director|
With strict rules and regulations in place for advertising to children and their attention spans shorter than ever, it was imperative that we didn’t follow a standard advertising approach. We needed to engage with children, not shout at them. This solution was therefore not only designed with kids in mind but directly with them, as their input helped shape the idea. As a result, this is a best-in-class example of innovatively communicating to children 8-12yo, using creativity and context to bring the idea to life in a playful and unique way.
In Australia, enrolments in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) degrees are at their lowest level in two decades. Children between the age of 8 – 12 years old are increasingly opting out of STEM subjects at school, leaving huge gaps in participation in STEM careers. This is particularly true for females, who account for less than a third of total enrolments in STEM university degrees and are hugely underrepresented in STEM roles. With demand for STEM-related jobs growing significantly faster than other occupations (+10.8% by 2023), it is imperative that we change this. Our objectives were therefore simple: • To increase interest in STEM subjects amongst children 8-12, especially girls. • To change perceptions of STEM subjects and careers amongst children 8-12.
To understand why children were opting out of STEM, we spoke to them firsthand: visiting schools, conducting observations and interviews. We found STEM subjects are considered ‘boys subjects’, they are perceived to have linear career pathways and are not seen to be relevant to “what I want to be when I grow up” (despite 8/10 of the top careers’ children aspire to, being STEM careers!) To combat this, we worked with the Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador to create Future You: an initiative that speaks directly to children, promoting gender diversity across a range of STEM careers and explicitly linking careers to STEM subjects. Future You shows children that anything is possible with STEM. Featuring twelve animated characters, each character uses STEM and directly challenges gender stereotypes, including: • Blake, the female Builder • Mei, the female Miner • Grace, the paraplegic, female Game-designer • Noah, the male Nurse
With strict regulations around advertising to children and kids' attention spans being shorter than ever, it was clear that a standard advertising approach wasn’t going to work. We had to go beyond ad formats, to engage with kids directly, but on their level in a fun and engaging way. We also needed to adopt a digital-first approach due to COVID restrictions and therefore speak to them through their screens. Who better to help us do this, than one of Australia’s leading children’s networks? We partnered with Totally Awesome, who specialise in creating content for Aussie children day in day out. They animated each one of our hero characters and produced a plethora of content that brought each one to life. To ensure the idea and content would resonate with kids, we created the content with them, getting children involved in the process by helping design and build the characters.
The three phases to launching Future You: 1. Introducing Future You To introduce children to our Future You characters, we released a catchy music video, titled “Everything you never imagined”. In the video, each character introduces themselves, their role and how important STEM is to their job. We promoted the music video across the Totally Awesome network, Unruly and Teads video Networks, YouTube pre-rolls and across social channels. 2. Getting to know the Future You characters To get to know the characters better, we directed children to a robust microsite that provided information on STEM, in-depth character profiles and interactive games for them to play and learn about the roles. 3. Inspiring kids to discover their STEM superpower We created a custom quiz, so children could find out what their STEM superpower is, what job role could be right for them and which STEM subjects would help them get there.
We reached over 2M children and parents and achieved our main objective of increasing interest in STEM subjects. We saw significant shifts in interest amongst children and parents who saw the campaign: +240% of girls and +40% of boys 8-12 being ‘very interested’ in STEM +21% of parents believing STEM is ‘very important’ for their child. Secondly, we began the journey of shifting gender stereotypes in STEM. We saw improvements in STEM jobs being considered by children as jobs for women (either for women only or for women and men equally). The campaign impacted female bias (jobs being for women) more dramatically, with some key % increases across roles including: +167% for Computer programming +150% for Builder +100% for Mission to Mars Director. Importantly, this is just the first step on our STEM journey, as we aspire to change the future of STEM, one Future You character at a time.