How (not?) to attract girls to science

An EU commission recently spent over $127,000 (€ 102,000) on a 45 second video to encourage girls in science. The ad features spike heels, short skirts, and girls modelling in a lab setting. Reaction has been so negative that they have removed the ad from the campaign.

As a researcher, I find it hard to believe this video encourages anyone to get involved in science (although apparently at least some girls found it motivating.) As someone who understands the genuine reasons girls (and boys) are attracted to science, I'm disappointed by a video that shows a lab full of lipstick and hair flips. The campaign is a lot more than the video - there's a website, Science Cafe program with mentors, flashmobs, a traveling expo truck, etc. -  and all of it seems more thoughtfully pro-science and competently in keeping with traditional STEM recruiting efforts.

 There's no way the Washington  Post or Time or Fark would have covered a traditional STEM campaign, so this ad is actually more effective than it should have been. I don't think it was intentional - a spokesman said the commission "doesn't really do irony." But  they seem to have fortuitously stumbled on a highly effective way of publicizing the shortage of women in science, and reaching a much larger audience than intended.