Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Job Center Cancels Campaign Giving Capes to Unemployed

It seems Dr. Evil Unemployment will have to be defeated another day.

Earlier today, the job center Workforce Central Florida announced that they are "withdrawing (their) admittedly out-of-the-box" campaign known as "Cape-A-Bility Challenge" that would hand out superhero-style capes to prospective job-seekers in an attempt to make them feel better about themselves.

This move is just nine days after the campaign was launched and quickly received considerable criticism.  According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Workforce Central Florida apparently spent $14,200 on the 6,000 capes, almost 20% of the campaign's budget.  In addition, WCF was planning to spend $24,700 on media buys, $15,000 for billboards and $5,000 on social media.  Just $2,000 would go for prizes to participating job-seekers and employers.

As part of the superhero theme, WCF created a cartoon character named "Dr. Evil Unemployment" as the nemesis to be defeated by participating in the campaign.  WCF's statement on the campaign today said, "Even though it seemed to offend some, it was the farthest thing from our intention which was to introduce our programs and services to job seekers and employers who need them. The decision was made today by our volunteer board leadership team in concern that the campaign may have been a little too out-of-the-box and missed the mark with such a broad audience.  Fortunately, we’ve achieved some success in the short week and a half the campaign has run, including new job postings online, new job candidates registered for services and an increase in usage of our website."

On Monday, Florida's unemployment agency director asked for an investigation of the regional operation's spending after the Orlando Sentinel published a story about the program.  State director Cynthia Lorenzo said the spending seemed to be "insensitive and wasteful."

WCF has since taken down the campaign gallery from its website but you can access a cached version at the Orlando Sentinel here.

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