NBC's "Today" Joins the Ad Council for New PSA Empowering Girls in STEM

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Cover image for  article: NBC's "Today" Joins the Ad Council for New PSA Empowering Girls in STEM

This Sunday, before the start of Super Bowl LVI, NBC's Today will debut a new television public service ad (PSA) featuring the show's anchors to encourage girls throughout the country to pursue their interests in STEM—science, technology, engineering and math. The spot, a part of the national She Can STEM campaign, was created by ad agency Deloitte Digital in collaboration with the Ad Council, a non-profit and leading producer of social impact campaigns for 80 years, and IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies.

The PSA features Today anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, Craig Melvin and Carson Daly. In an on-set daydream of Guthrie's, the spot humorously envisions the anchors as students in a 1970s classroom talking about what they hope to be when they grow up. In the dream, modern STEM careers are possible and female classmates name cool careers from today that you can pursue through an interest in STEM. The PSA also features STEM role models Tiffany Kelly, Mitu Khandaker, and Karina Popovich who are part of the AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors Program to encourage more young women to explore careers in STEM. The PSA ends with "STEM has come a long way. She Can STEM." and directs audiences to SheCanSTEM.com where they can start exploring stories of diverse STEM role models.

The new PSA will debut between noon and 3 p.m. ET on NBC during Super Bowl Sunday. NBCUniversal donated airtime for the :30 spot to air two times. Additionally, this morning and on Monday, Today will feature the PSA in two segments, including a behind-the-scenes "making of the PSA" segment showing the collaborative effort of the campaign development process with the anchors, and Mitu Khandaker discussing her experience as a STEM role model and the importance of this issue.

"So many kids start off with big dreams, dreams that can help our world be more innovative, collaborative and cutting edge, but then they get discouraged along the way. Together with Today, Deloitte Digital, IF/THEN and NBCUniversal, we're working to keep those dreams alive," said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "With the She Can STEM campaign we can show girls, non-binary youth, and trans youth that their passion in STEM can become a reality. We are so grateful for this extraordinary collaboration."

Women make up half of the total college-educated workforce in the U.S., but they only constitute 27% of the STEM workforce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Research shows that many girls lose interest in STEM as early as middle school, and this path continues through high school and college, ultimately leading to an underrepresentation of women in STEM careers. She Can STEM aims to dismantle the intimidating perceived barrier of STEM fields by showing girls, non-binary youth, and trans youth how fun, messy and accessible STEM can be, encouraging them to dive in, no matter where they are in their STEM journey.

"We are honored to partner with the Ad Council and shine a spotlight on the impact of empowering girls and diverse individuals in their STEM journey. By combining compassion, creativity and credibility, this mission will be center stage for millions of people across the country," said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Global Advertising and Partnerships at NBCUniversal and current Board Chair of the Ad Council. "NBCUniversal is committed to reflecting diverse voices, representation, and action in our content and work with advertisers to bring that trusted content to our viewers. All over the world, what we share shapes culture, entertains people and informs them of today's most critical topics."

Deloitte Digital, working in collaboration with Ad Council and Today's team, created and produced the PSA, working with director JJ Adler of Ruckus Films. Deloitte Digital Chief Creative Officer Leslie Sims stated, "When our friends at the Ad Council came to Deloitte Digital with the opportunity to work with the hosts of Today for the Super Bowl, we were all in. The assignment, excite girls about STEM and let kids see the fun careers out there, was like winning the lottery. With a week and a half from brief to shoot, we created a spot focused on the real stars—the kids. It's pretty much been a week of nonstop laughing."

Deloitte Digital has been actively involved with Ad Council and She Can STEM since 2019, creating award-winning creative to encourage girls to pursue STEM education and careers.

Following Sunday's debut of the new PSA, the spot will be distributed to NBCUniversal stations nationwide for future airings throughout 2022. NBCUniversal is also featuring content about the PSA and the importance of STEM for girls on today.com.

"STEM is everywhere – whether you have a career in television journalism, video game design, or vaccine research – and we are proud to collaborate with the Ad Council and NBC's Today to put a spotlight on women with fun, relatable, and world-changing STEM careers," said Lyda Hill, founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies and founder, IF/THEN Initiative. "If you're watching television and you see role models who look like you doing groundbreaking work, you begin to believe, `If she can do it, then I can do it.'"

Since the launch of She Can STEM in September 2018, the campaign has been supported by a variety of corporate, nonprofit and media partners. The current funder of the campaign is IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies. Nonprofit partners include Black Girls Code, ChickTech, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Girls Who Code, National Center for Women & Information Technology, The New York Academy of Sciences and Society of Women Engineers.

To learn more about She Can STEM, join the @SheCanSTEM community on Instagram or visit SheCanSTEM.com.

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