EDF: Pretty Curious

Responsible for EDF's Pretty Curious campaign, tackling gender inequality in STEM careers by targeting girls pre-GCSE choice in specific media moments, like cinema, to drive conversation.

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For all the high energy demands we have now, that demand is only going to get greater and greater for future generations, as energy is required for more facets of everyday life, from the connected home, to wearables, to electric cars, and beyond.

EDF Energy’s mission is to innovate in everything they do, to try and find answers to this problem, and provide the best solutions for powering future generations.

However, the problem solving can only be as good as the brains working on it, and here the whole industry has an issue.  If we are to help solve this massive puzzle for society, then we need the problem solvers to have the diversity to mirror that society, to ensure everyone has a voice. That currently is far from being the case. Before we even get to BAME or LGBTQIA representation, the biggest current imbalance is gender: currently just one in five people working in Core STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) today in the UK is female. This means there is a pool of undiscovered STEM talent out there, and EDF Energy’s goal is to help rectify that.

We recognised that to get more females into these STEM roles, we needed to capture the imaginations of the young girls about to make their GCSE subject choices, as it’s the path they choose here that could lead to a STEM role in the future.  Identifying the inherent inquisitiveness and proactivity to problem solving in primary-school children, in contrast to the teenagers bowing to peer group and societal conformity pressures, we made our target audience girls in the first year of secondary school – a time when their thirst for knowledge is still broad and their inspiration could be incubated.

With EDF’s Pretty Curious programme, we set out to do this, presenting these girls with films showcasing inspiring female role models, in fascinating STEM jobs. We set about sharing these stories in media moments when our target girls would be in inspirational shared viewing occasions with their parents, to educate both generations, and drive our campaign objective of sparking a conversation.

Cinema was the perfect medium for this, combining the impact and excitement of the big screen, and delivering shared family viewing occasions, with content that celebrated strong female messages like Star Wars: Rogue One, and JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts.

A significant recent activity was our collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox. They were preparing for the theatrical release of “Hidden Figures”, the story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program – an inspiring tale that has many synergies with Pretty Curious.

Our partnership provided EDF Energy with access to prizes, screenings and the film’s IP, whilst Twentieth Century Fox got access to a credible and ready-made audience, plus advertising spend, with stings promoting Hidden Figures added to our EDF Pretty Curious cinema spots.


The partnership drove 86% uptake in terms of ticket redemption*, and combined with overall cinema activity, drove 38% recognition of the campaign amongst UK parents**, potentially sparking over 750,000 relevant conversations about Pretty Curious***.

This was true shared media, delivering a partnership that had mutual benefit, but that more importantly started hundreds of thousands of conversations between parents and their daughters, which could be the starting point of the career of the scientist who in a few decades time could answer the question “How do we keep the lightbulbs on?” More power to that.


*Source: Twentieth Century Fox

** Source: EDF Energy own data

***3.9 million people on TGI with children in HH, aged 11-13. Apply 38% figure from source **equates 1.5 million. Apply 51% female as overall national stat from TGI, equates 755,820, round to 750k+conversations.

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