Vinny Tafuro, an author and founder of Corporate Empathy, is a fan of Jon Stewart.
At times, Stewart makes him laugh.
But what Stewart said on Monday evening on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart made him jump… at his screen.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing,” says Tafuro. “My thoughts coming out of Jon Stewart’s mouth!”
Let’s make it clear: Tafuro is not accusing Stewart of any wrongdoing.
Hearing Stewart was validation.
So let’s back up.
Stewart had on Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
They were discussing the motivation behind the just announced Starbucks College Achievement Plan. Everyone this week has been talking about Starbucks and the company’s willingness to spring for a college education for their employees.
Stewart said to Schultz: “You know, corporations are people, we’ve learned. But generally they’re sociopaths.” (Clip below: It’s about 3 minutes in.)
For Tafuro, that was the ah-hah moment.
Tafuro recently launched an American focused apparel and merchandise brand that uses smart and snarky phrases to humorously poke fun at common corporate practices. The first American made fitted tee simply states that “Being a sociopath is just not cool” and has been a conversation starter when people see the shirts.
The brand was born after Tafuro published Corporate Empathy, which is meant to be a manifesto of a belief system which holds companies to human standards to make the world a better place, and well before Jon Stewart made those comments on his show caused an eruption in laughter.
In the book, Tafuro describes how corporations often “act with a seemingly sociopathic indifference toward the very consumers that they serve.”
That organization promotes capitalism as “Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.” In recent years Sir Richard Brandson’s The B Team was also formed. Its mission is “to catalyse a better way of doing business for the wellbeing of people and the planet.”
Tafuro says the Corporate Empathy brand plans to offer additional apparel items and styles as well as collectable and functional merchandise to expand the reach of the theories in the book to help promote the messages through humor.
“Selling a book about instilling empathy in economic theory is just not very sexy,” says Tafuro. “But using humor and provocative thoughts breaks through the clutter of today’s media landscape. It entices people to engage with our brand and open themselves to a deeper message.”
And Jon Stewart the other night just proved it.
Stewart might be pleased to learn that the next shirt to be produced will ask the question, “If corporations are people? Shouldn’t they act like adults?”