After sparking controversy with the UNHATE campaign in November last year, Benetton, through the UNHATE Foundation, launched a new global communication campaign to support unemployed youth. This time the brand decided not to use such shocking imagery for their campaign. Instead, they want people to acknowledge the unemployment issue through ads that look like magazine covers and give a whole other perception of unemployment through a young non-filmmaker, non-politician etc. The NEET’s (Not in Education, Employment or Training) on the ads are wearing formal clothes as an ironic way to further emphasize this modern day issue that a lot of young people face.
The primary part of the campaign is a contest for NEET’s age 18 to 30 that encourages them to submit ideas that will lead to concrete social impact in their community. The voting for best projects will be held online, and the top 100 projects will be supported by Benetton with 5,000 euros each, and turned into reality.
“The new United Colors of Benetton communication campaign presents a realistic portrait of today’s society by actively tackling a current problem, that of youth non-employment and the potential conflict between generations, in order to show it in a new light and create value for the immense human capital of young people”, said Alessandro Benetton, Chairman of the Benetton Group. “We can’t change the world, but United Colors of Benetton wants to use its voice to champion young people and celebrate their strength and value”.
Inhouse Benetton agency Fabrica and 72andSunny in Amsterdam who is responsible for this campaign also created a spot showing young unemployed people fighting hard for a job and at the same time for their dignity, against indifference and stigma. A voiceover, accompanied by an awesome tune from The Blackwater Fever, tells a motivational and supportive story throughout the video. Through a partnership with MTV and digital media, Benetton will broadcast these ads and the campaign, reaching more than 35 countries.
What’s shocking about this campaign is, well, that it’s not shocking at all. It is already being portrayed as Benetton’s most boring campaign ever, and that’s no understatement considering their past campaigns. It is also getting a lot of negative comments online with people stating that the company is putting their branding efforts where the money lies now, and the ads not being realistic enough. One YouTube commenter said “When you do get a job, please buy $125 United Color of Benetton luxe hoodie. PS: I don’t necessarily disagree with the message, I’m just not sure how I feel about the messenger“.