First impressions count, especially when it comes to job interviews, and, like it or not, the first impression any potential employer will have of any potential employee will be down to how they look. We are, underneath it all, an incredibly judgemental special, hardcoded to make our initial decisions based on our immediate senses. Unfortunately, this means that many employers might never look past an unkempt individual who might be perfect for the job, but has lost all of their confidence due to their lapse into addiction.
“The campaign is in its infancy, but it's the first initiative of its kind in the UK and we already have 34 dry-cleaners signed up in London”
Leo Burnett London hope to put an end to this prejudice by partnering with Action on Addiction to help recovering addicts back into the workplace with the “Dry/Clean Initiative.” The simple initiative sees Action on Addiction, which specialises in workplace training and rehabilitation, partner with dry-cleaners across London to collect unclaimed clothes that can be worn to interviews. With a reported 15% of dry-cleaning never claimed by its owners, businesses become inundated with unwanted clothing that gradually takes up more and more valuable storage space.
Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that employment can increase a recovering addict's abstinence by 79%. By handing over unclaimed suits to Action on Addiction, dry-cleaners can help people who are dry of alcohol and clean from drugs on their way to employment by giving them appropriate clothes to wear to interviews. The supporting ad work tells “Debbie's Story” in a short film (above). The first person to have been helped by the initiative, she explains in her own words how she became an addict, why she remained addicted to drugs and alcohol and how she eventually became clean. She explains how a free suit helped her and what it can mean to recovering addicts who are trying to find work. The campaign runs across online, print and direct platforms.
“We wanted to help give recovering addicts, who are working day by day to stay dry/clean, a tangible tool that they can use to get back on their feet”
Elliott Starr, a Creative Director at Leo Burnett, said: “Millions of people in the UK struggle with addiction. Most of us know someone whose life has been affected by it. We wanted to help give recovering addicts, who are working day by day to stay dry/clean, a tangible tool that they can use to get back on their feet. ‘the dry/clean initiative' is a step towards creating a new life and it's something we're delighted to be part of.” Amanda Thomson, Communications and Research Manager at Action on Addiction, added: “This campaign is in its infancy, but we believe it is the first initiative of its kind in the UK and we already have 34 dry-cleaners signed up in London. This is an exciting achievement, but it's just the beginning. We have plans to take this nationwide, increasing donations and providing suits to determine addicts in recovery all over the UK.”
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and struggling musician from the dark heart of Kidderminster in the UK.