The Italian-based retailer United Colors of Benetton has a long history of courting controversy with political statements that seem far and away from the perfect pea coat (the image of Obama and Chavez sucking face is still seared into our retinas). So directing the company's latest ad campaign toward a very specific and hot button demographic—"NEETs," or rather "not in education, employment, or training," of a certain age—is no surprise. The contest that goes along with the ads, however, is a surprise.
Called Unemployee of the Year, the contest asks people aged 18 to 30 to create projects proposals "that lead to positive social impact in their community," and upload them to the UNHATE website. 100 of those will win 5,000 euros each (or roughly $6,526 each). Think of all the Benetton you can buy with that.
The message? Action trumps unemployment. And commerce, for that matter. Or as the voice over in the commercial says, the contest is "for making them see that it's not all about how you make money and how you spend it, for telling those who told you 'Go get a job.' A job doesn't define me; What I fight for does." Check out the video after the jump.