Benetton Reaches Out to the Young & Jobless with ‘Unemployee of the Year’

By Ella Riley-Adams 

Remember when United Colors of Benetton released photos of world leaders making out? Barack Obama kissing Hu Jintao, Angela Merkel smooching Sarkozy. Now, building on their initial controversial success, the brand has launched a second ‘UnHATE’ campaign: This time, they want us to vote for the “Unemployee of the Year.”

The Benetton Group’s center for research on communications, FABRICA, has once again partnered with 72andsunny Amsterdam to highlight high numbers of unemployed youth in today’s world. It’s both a campaign and a contest. Jobless people ages 18 to 29 can be a part of the campaign by telling Benetton about their “non-work experience” and then submitting a project. On October 30, 100 of those people will be awarded €5,000 to fund their passion project.


“Benetton is a brand with a point of view: today we call attention to the legacy that previous generations have left this one, and we reflect on the difficulties that people under 30 experience when trying to enter the job market,” says Benetton Group’s worldwide communications director Gianluca Pastore.

It’s emotional, certainly. The Unemployee of the Year site is laden with young, beautiful people, their bright eyes brimming with potential. They’ve trained, they’ve applied for jobs, and presumably they’ve been denied again and again. Of course they should be given their dreams.

And, like distant relatives at Thanksgiving, some people will respond to this campaign with predictable skepticism: “Maybe these kids didn’t try hard enough,” they’ll say. “Did they do internships in college?”

What do you think: is Benetton just trawling for emotional material and coddling these (momentarily) lagging 20-somethings? Or are they providing a much-needed financial platform for struggling young leaders to make out-of-the-box contributions?

Credits after the jump.

Agency: FABRICA, in cooperation with 72andSunny Amsterdam

Creative Director, FABRICA: Erik Ravelo

Executive Creative Director/Writer, 72andSunny: Carlo Cavallone

Executive Creative Director/Designer, 72andSunny: Bryan Rowles

Creative Director/Designer, 72andSunny: Paulo Martins

Designer, 72andSunny: Patric Franz
Brand Director, 72andSunny: Judson Whigham
Brand Manager, 72andSunny: Frederic Point