NEW! Burnett, ComEd Stage Chicago Derby For Future Female STEM Stars

Leo Burnett Chicago and utility company ComEd are encouraging teen girls to seek careers in STEM fields by converting old refrigerators into more advanced versions of Soapbox Derby-type race cars.

As part of the ComEd IceBox Derby, thirty Chicago-area girls from ages 13 to 18 were divided into six teams to build vehicles and then to compete in a six-lap race in Daley Plaza, Chicago, a new venue for the four-year old event. 

This year, the competition’s curriculum also included solar energy in the cars’ construction as a way to introduce the girls and young women to renewable energy technology.

“A big insight for me is how one small action can have multiple impacts," says Dan Chodrow, EVP, executive creative director, Leo Burnett, Chicago. "Somebody paid enough attention to the environment to recycle their old fridge. Then, ComEd used that fridge, not only as an example of energy efficiency and the client's commitment to solar power, but as a means to encourage women to engage with STEM.”



This is the fourth year Leo Burnett Chicago and ComEd have collaborated on this race car competition by merging their individual expertise in creativity and technology. (This year’s race was held Aug. 12 and team Orange Flare emerged victorious.)

Leo Burnett is credited with the original concept, and has overseen the event’s activation and expansion.

This year the agency was involved in the overall design, branding and advertising for the campaign, including team specific materials to general brand communication around the role of women in STEM. The shop also worked to help develop the curriculum and content for each of the fridge-car “build days,” as well as the plan for Derby Day itself.

“The single biggest change was the location of the race. Daley Plaza gave the girls and the program a bigger stage and a larger audience," says Chodrow. "Our involvement continues past the Derby through the content we create as well as planning for expansion beyond Chicago in the years ahead. Stay tuned for that."



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