Unemployment statistics might make you think the U.S. needs jobs, but we think differently. We think what people really need is a purpose. It’s really not in anyone’s best interest to flip burgers at McDonald’s; it is in everyone’s best interest for people to be able to pursue their positive passions and achieve their dreams–especially when those dreams are big, and when they involve doing good.
Clothing maker Benetton is recognizing this truth with a new “Unemployee” promotion. Unemployed individuals from 18 to 30 can pitch Benetton with their fantastic ideas about improving lives in their communities. The top 100 ideas will receive about 5000 euros each, as well as the ballistic marketing lift of association with the Benetton brand.
Benetton has been criticized in the past for provocative ads focused on social issues but not solutions. It’s now putting its money where its ads are–though some are still criticizing the award amounts for being too small. Still, part of the value is simply in the recognition: of an idea as being great, as worthy of international attention.
Salesforce touted its 1% time and money donation at Dreamforce today. Benetton is putting its money where its fans’ ideas are. If other companies did something similar, we could really turn around our communities and improve the lives of many people–more directly and more engagingly than with traditional jobs.