APRIL 20, 2011
In a flagrant example of how the government wastes taxpayer dollars, a federally-funded job center in Florida has financed a costly public relations campaign that is distributing thousands of superhero capes to the unemployed.The story would almost be funny if it didn’t involve such an idiotic act with increasingly scarce public funds. The job agency, Worforce Central Florida, is supposed to help the area’s 100,000-plus unemployed residents find work. Instead, it spent $73,000 on a corny publicity campaign titled “Cape-A-Bility Challenge.” The idea is to “generate awareness” of the agency’s programs, according to an official quoted in the Orlando newspaper that broke the story last week.A cartoon character named “Dr. Evil Unemployment” is the campaign’s star character and 6,000 red satin superhero capes are being distributed to jobless central Floridians who care to participate. The capes cost the government $14, 200 and foam cutouts of “Dr. Evil Unemployment” an additional $2,300. Apparently, the idea behind the capes is to elevate the self-esteem of the unemployed.The innovative campaign will also raffle gift cards and purchase media spots as well as billboard space. An advertising agency hired to run the promotion will collect $7,500. Ads feature videos of employers, job seekers and the public job agency’s chairman in a cape posing as superman. It’s all part of a brilliant “Everyday Superheroes” theme that the ad agency created for the campaign.On a bit of a positive note, the media coverage has led state labor officials to request aninvestigation into the matter. This doesn’t mean that anyone will be punished for such a ridiculous waste of public resources, but at least it will give the agency’s inspector general the opportunity to compile details of how it all went down and whose brilliant idea it was.
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