United Colors of Benetton – Unemployee Of The YearPosted: September 18, 2012 | |
United Colors of Benetton has launched “Unemployee of the Year”, a a contest created for young people all over the world, aiming to award 100 projects proposed and voted by the online community. The project, promoted by the UNHATE Foundation, aims to spread a positive message of hope and celebrate young people’s ingenuity, creativity, and their ability to create new smart ways of addressing the problem of unemployment.
For decades, Benetton, the Italian apparel retailer, has been known for provocative advertising that attracts publicity by stirring up discussion of contentious topics like politics, religion and the treatment of AIDS patients. For almost as long, critics have dismissed the ads as exploitative because they do not offer solutions to the problems or assistance to the causes that could use financial help.
Now, however, Benetton is going to put some money where its mouth is — 500,000 euros, to be exact, or about $650,000. A campaign that begins on Tuesday for the United Colors of Benetton brand, and is devoted to the problem of youth unemployment, includes a contest to find worthwhile projects suggested by unemployed young people, who will receive financing from a Benetton foundation.
Information about the contest, called Unemployee of the Year, will be available at unhatefoundation.org, the Web site of the Unhate Foundation, which is named after a campaign carrying the theme of “unhate” that Benetton ran last year.
The contest will be open to unemployed people, ages 18 to 30. They are being asked to submit to the Web site ideas for projects — nonprofit or not — that would improve lives in their communities. Visitors who register at the site will vote on their favorite proposals, and the Unhate Foundation will give the people behind 100 winning projects 5,000 euros each, totaling 500,000 euros. The money to be awarded the winners is a small sum compared with the estimated budget for the Unemployee of the Year campaign, which is 20 million euros, or about $26.2 million. But it is a major commitment compared with what Benetton has spent until now on the issues addressed by its ads.
The goal is “a new generation of Benetton, a Benetton 2.0,” Alessandro Benetton, who in April became chairman of the Benetton Group, said in a phone interview last week. The difference now is that when Benetton seeks to “talk about contemporary social issues,” Mr. Benetton said, the campaign “needs to have a practical response to the problems we’re raising. Not by ourselves are we going to change the world,” he added. “But we want to set an example.” Mr. Benetton said he hoped people would be surprised to see the company spending money to promote “values in which we believe. And I hope it’s something many other companies are doing,” he added.
The campaign is being created by Fabrica, the internal Benetton agency, in collaboration with the Amsterdam office of 72andSunny, an agency owned by MDC Partners.
The campaign includes a commercial in which young people in countries around the world are shown trying hard to find jobs. Some take part in a demonstration, holding banners with uplifting messages like “Dignity.”
“That is meant to counter the widespread complaints directed at jobless youth” Mr. Benetton said, “charging them with being “lazy” or being “anarchists,” or that it is somehow “their own fault” they are unemployed.”
There are also print ads in the campaign, which present portrait-style photographs of well-dressed unemployed young men and women. The subjects of the print ads are identified with phrases like “Angel, 29, non-industrial engineer from Spain,” “Valentina, 30, non-lawyer from Italy” and “Eno, 28, non-actor from the U.S.”
Advertising Agency: Fabrica/72andSunny