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Case Study #4: GE Imagines a World Where We Treat Female Scientists Like Celebrities

Feb 13, 2017

At Front Runner Films we get our kicks by exploring the many creative solutions that video content can provide for business’. We believe that every company has a story to tell and an obstacle in telling it. Welcome to the very first installment of a series of blog articles in which we’ll take a deeper look at some of our favorite video marketing campaigns, and what has made them such a success.

Case Study #1: “Celebrate The Real Heros”

  • Client: GE
  • Agency: BBDO, Directed by Nicole Holofcener, Creative Directors: Gary Du Toit, Lance Vining
  • Year: 2017
  • Distribution: The video was originally launched on YouTube, and part of a much larger, multi-platform campaign as 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 Problem:

It’s a rather large challenge for GE to take on: the inequality by gender of people employed in technology and IT industries. 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. GE wants to see a shift towards an equal representation of women across engineering, tech and IT roles. The problem for their creative teams was also how to take an issue which has had it’s share of media attention in the last 5 years, and generate more talk, more buzz and more action?

The Solution:

In a statement that encompass’ GE’s latest social responsibility campaign chief marketing officer, Linda Boff, said: “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,”

In what seems like a three pronged approach, GE tackled their creative challenge with three directives:

  1. Fame should be reserved for those who make great achievements, not for those who are famous for fame’s sake.
  2. Create a timeline by announcing a deadline
  3. invite other companies within their industry to join them in meeting this challenge.

Their 60-second spot highlights female scientist and the first woman to win the National Medal of Science in Engineering, Millie Dresselhaus. Kardashians move over, in an almost alternate-reality world, we witness Millie receiving the attention she has actually earned, being photographed, celebrated, and followed.

The Results:

Boff continues: “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.”

No doubt GE has held themselves publicly accountable, and it’s fair to assume that their internal goals shall be met. It’s ambitious to hope that their competitors might do the same, but now that the gauntlet has been drawn, we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

The creative result was a success regardless, the video is inspiring and heartwarming. The young female narrator compliments the array of cleverly thought-out scenarios, and really drives home the message of the imbalances within our society.


GE have taken aboard a big challenge and produced a PR video that manages to balance what could be seen as bible-bashing, and instead shares a message of aspiration and hope. Their use of a deadline, not only underlines their serious commitment to this movement but also adds a second of urgency to what is becoming (sadly) a bit of a tired and often-times passed over conversation. Inviting their contemporaries to meet their ambitious goal is also a terrific way to expand their message and hopefully generate more buzz as other companies get onboard.


Front Runner Films is a Los Angeles based, award-winning Production Company specializing in telling humorous and unique stories for business. We are experts in finding the heart of your company’s story and communicating it effectively in the form of commercials, corporate and branding videos produced to the highest quality on time and on budget. Every time. Because we love what we do. Find out more about us here.

Get to Know Front Runner Films

Front Runner Films is a corporate video production company telling humorous and heartfelt stories helping bring products, companies and passion to light.

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