Every day we talk about budget cuts. Not spending money frivolously is on the forefront of most everyone’s mind.
Everyone but Workforce Central Florida, a federally funded labor development agency that receives almost $24 million per year in public money. It is a private, nonprofit company run by over 40 Central Florida business leaders.
Recently Workforce launched a marketing campaign that involved giving out red capes to the unemployed. The unfortunately named “Cape-A-Bility Challenge” campaign was centered around fighting Dr. Evil Unemployment (really?).
They spent more than $14,000 on 6,000 capes and about $2,300 of public money on 12 5-foot-tall Dr. Evil Unemployment foam cutouts.
Including advertising, the campaign costs somewhere in the neighborhood over $73,000.
Not only is it a collosal waste of money, but it is an insult to the unemployed. Just because they don’t have a job doesn’t mean they deserve to be treated like children.
Who the hell wants to wear a cape around that screams “I DON’T HAVE A JOB!”? They might as well be wearing a kick me sign.
All money wasted aside, this campaign belittles the plight of unemployment. Surely this was not their intention, but that’s what’s happening. You could file this under: massive marketing FAIL.
At least some folks in our government agree with me — like executive director of Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation, Cynthia Lorenzo.
“I have serious concerns with the content and approach” of the project, Lorenzo wrote to Workforce Central Florida Executive Director Gary J. Earl.
“With more than one million Floridians currently out of work, spending any amount of money on collateral materials such as the red capes included in your campaign appears to be insensitive and wasteful.”
Earl defended his organizations actions, saying with any marketing campaign, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and that “not everyone will agree on creative strategy.”
“The plight of the unemployed is why we exist,” Earl wrote, “and to help them, we have to engage them, introduce them to our services and connect them with job opportunities.”
Apparently, handing out capes was the best they could come up with. Why couldn’t they have just done t-shirts like everyone else? Or ping pong paddles. Or ANYTHING that’s even moderately useful? For that $73,000 they could have hired an unemployed marketing agent who had a clue what the hell she was doing.
The Sun Sentinel is reporting that a government investigation has been launched. Great, let’s waste more tax dollars investigating why we wasted tax dollars. This is what I’m talking about.
The only winners here? The company that printed the capes.
Everyone else loses.
[UPDATE: Workforce Central Florida has CANCELLED the capes marketing campaign. Do we get a refund for the capes? Or the Dr. Evil Unemployment cardboard cutouts*?]
*cue the sound of a toilet flushing