Benetton: "We are not provocative"
20 September 2012
In an exclusive interview with M&M Global, Benetton Group's worldwide communications director Gianluca Pastore said that the brand's aim is not to be provocative but socially engaging.
The brand, best known for its provocative advertising such as billboard images of a newborn baby still attached to its umbilical cord, a black horse mounting a white one and President Obama kissing Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, this week marked its commitment to unemployment among youths with the launch of its new global communication campaign, ‘Unemployee of the Year’.
"For the United Colors of Benetton brand, to be provocative is not the aim of the communication," says Pastore. "We are not being provocative for the sake of being provocative, it's much more thought provoking. What we really need is to get people to think about a social issue that is very much important in terms of equality but also because it is something that can affect the future of our planet."
The campaign, which was set up by the UNHate Foundation, aims to raise awareness, change perceptions and challenge clichés about unemployment among young people.
For the ‘Unemployee of the Year’ contest, Benetton is calling on unemployed adults between the ages of 18 and 30. Entrants are invited to submit outlines of project ideas that have the power to create a social impact in their community.
"This time we chose a theme that is, in itself, something that companies do not like to touch upon, which is why we did it," says Pastore. "It will be interesting to see what kind of project this generation will upload."
The outlines for projects will be submitted to the UNHate Foundation website and voted for by the online community. The 100 “most deserving projects” will receive €5,000 ($6,600) to fund the project and campaign support from the UNHate Foundation to bring their projects to fruition.
The contest takes place from September 18 to October 14, 2012.
The ‘Unemployee of the Year’ campaign will be supported by a series of global communication activities that present a series of portrait photos of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs). The NEETs were selected on the basis of identity profiles based on study and commitment as well as their interests and passions.
The creative elements present the NEETs as businesspeople. A short film paying homage to today’s youth will support the initiative. The film features an unfiltered portrayal of the everyday lives of four young NEETs, showing how they are trying to find work at the same time as fighting for their dignity.
The ads, featuring a call-to-action, will be broadcast on MTV as well as via digital media in more than 35 countries across the globe.
The ‘Unemployee of the Year’ project will run globally, both in print and virally, using social media. "As a brand, we want to reinforce our positioning in social engagement," adds Pastore.
The goal of the campaign is celebrate the ability of today’s young people to find new, creative ways of dealing with the issue of unemployment and come up with their own unique solution.
“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,” says Benetton Group chairman Alessandro Benetton. “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”.
“This generation shall not be a lost generation,” said Benetton, at the launch of the campaign at United Colors of Benetton’s flagship store in London. “I just hope that I wake up tomorrow and see other companies doing the same, and then we will be looking towards a better future.”
Check out the full interview with Pastore via M&M Global TV.
Jenni Baker, London