Google Holiday Tree Campaign Lights Up Girl Coders
Less than one percent of girls express interest in majoring in computer science in college. Yet, the tech industry is growing faster than any other industry. To champion this issue and be sure that the future of tech includes perspectives from women, Google created Made with Code, an initiative to inspire girls to try coding and be inspired to pursue their dream careers.
Google wanted a big stage (national, actually) to launch this initiative and engage girls in the campaign, so it partnered with the National Park Foundation and National Park Service to let girls bring the National Tree Lighting holiday ceremony to life through code. On the Made with Code website (madewithcode.com), girls could use an introductory coding experience to design the colors, patterns and animation of the lights on one of 56 state and territory trees outside of the White House.
Each girl’s completed design was sent to Washington D.C. and incorporated in her selected state tree lighting scheme. She then received the date and the time of when her design would light up. The 56 coded trees lit up alongside the National Holiday Tree at the annual televised event, each covered in 900 interactive LED lights that responded to the girls’ designs, but also coordinated to light up in sync with one another. More than 2,000 people, including many of the girls who coded trees, were in attendance as well as the First Family, hosts Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson and musical guests Ne-Yo, 5th Harmony and Patti Labelle.
In addition to the event’s ability to engage audiences in a Google cause, the brand put its money where its mouth is—making a $50 million commitment over three years to support an ecosystem of nonprofit partners that are exposing girls to computer science. Girl Power.
In one month, with no paid media, more than one million digital trees were coded. The project received unanimous praise from mainstream press, such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Seventeen, and Mashable.