Benetton’s global campaign for a global crisis

4 Oct

Depending on whom you read, unemployment is either the next major world crisis headed our way, or we’re already up to our over-credited necks in it.

As an example, current unemployment rates down in the U.S. sit at 12.5 million officially, with another 9.5 million unofficially unemployed, in other words those not actively looking for work, or too discouraged to even bother trying, or part-timers seeking full-time work. 22 million people. That’s the population of Australia.

While a surplus of over-50 workers is already hitting the unemployment skids, the most worrying demographic is the under-30s, who have yet to lay down credentials and experience, or financial resources to fall back on.

According to the International Labour Organization, there are 100 million unemployed youth between 18-29 worldwide.

It’s this group that Italian clothing maker and social muck-raker Benetton is targeting in their new global campaign to support non-employed youth.

Benetton Unemployed ad

The campaign consists of awareness ads and a competition dubbed Unemployee of the Year, which seeks to support the creativity and social conscience of today’s youth.

The contest invites unemployed adults between 18-30 to submit proposals for projects that lead to concrete social impact in their community.

The online community votes and the top 100 ideas receive support from Benetton’s Unhate Foundation to turn them into reality.

This is not the first contest by a powerful global brand that calls on public vote to secure funding, but it brings focus to a crisis that will soon tear our attention away from the economic, environmental and energy crises.

Is it great advertising in the tradition of Benetton’s past shock-wave campaigns? No.

But this is how Corporate Social Responsibility is supposed to work. The advertiser is using its clout to make the world a better place. And sell some shirts.

As a marketer, and an employee, that gets my vote.



4 Responses to “Benetton’s global campaign for a global crisis”

  1. Tom Hudock October 9, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    This trend of mixing advertising with being socially responsible is appealing to people. No longer about the all mighty dollar – now it’s the triple bottom line. Unless you’re watching Kevin O’Leary then it’s still profit, outsourcing to China, and licensing deals. But his fellow Dragons usually disagree. So what do you think about this push to “let’s create a movement” these days?

    • Doug Brown October 9, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      I’m all for it Tom, as long as it lines up with the company’s values. The broader corporate social responsibility picture should be integrated into every business plan to ensure these things don’t come off as solely opportunistic though. I think Benetton has a consistent track record here, as their Unhate Foundation shows. Will the public eventually tire of this approach? Oh probably. But not before some serious good is done. Your thoughts?

      • Tom Hudock October 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

        Ok had a moment to be philosophical so here’s my 2 cents worth… More people are being philanthropist in thinking; beyond sitting on the couch donating to charities but actually getting involved. Influenced by Gen Y’ers who start amazing things, such as this teen. And perhaps its with society’s collision of philanthropy and Maslow’s sense of belonging, which gives us this new way of connecting emotionally with consumers. And like you said, some serious good will get done.

  2. Doug Brown October 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    It’s amazing what a kid with an idea can do today. Thanks for sharing that link. I’m going to share it with my daughter…let it percolate. Cheers Tom!

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