Marketing Of Benetton Assignment

1023 words - 5 pages

United Colors of BenettonBackgroundSince 1984, Benetton conducted a very controversial advertising campaign. Among the most talked about ones were: - a black horse mounting a white one - the naked buttocks of an AIDS carrier, tattooed with "HIV Positive"- a black baby and a white baby facing each other, sitting on their potties- a priest and a nun kissing- an empty electric chair- child laborers with the slogan "The United Colors of Benetton"Owner Luciano Benetton said that the rationale behind their advertising campaign was to put forward ideas about racism, sexism, human rights, animal rights, the environment and most of the major worldwide issues which prevailed during the time. Benetton stated that its strategy was "born of the company's wish to produce images of global concern for its global customers." This humanitarian aspect, however, seems to have followed rather than preceded the advertising campaign which then became an integral part of Benetton's marketing strategy.Benetton then supported a variety of causes such as SOS Racisme and even organized a worldwide conference in 1996. Their web page had a large collection of news stories on topics such as whale hunting, land mines, ozone layer depletion and North Korean girls being sold.The Benetton ads/campaigns have been haunted by much controversy. The company even pulled out some advertisements such as the billboard of a newborn baby with its umbilical cord intact and covered in amniotic fluid because of too much public protests in countries such as France, Italy and the U.K. However, it is also evident that Benetton's voluntary removal of the billboards was also a move to increase the company's notoriety - making it a martyr to censorship. Although the ad was not specifically banned, the sense of censorship that Benetton created helped to add to the perception of the advertisement as art.AnalysisThe reactions to Benetton's advertisements have actually varied. Some did not see why a clothing company should espouse such intense moral issues and therefore found Benetton's moves to be hypocritical and shameless. Some found the ads offensive and tasteless while others see them as crusading efforts to promote social values. Benetton tried to push the latter kind of thinking by supporting social organizations and printing discussions on moral issues around the world. Furthermore, some considered the ads as a form of art. There is no doubting the talents of Benetton's photographer, Oliviero Toscani. Many of his photos won awards and have been displayed in galleries worldwide.There is no question that Benetton understood the concept of self-promotion. Their print and poster campaign generated an incredible amount of discussion and this is what we would call "no-cost advertising." The media stories that the campaign generated were actually free publicity for the company.Another channel which Benetton used effectively was its Colors magazine, launched in 1991 and "created to reach young people everywhere." According to Benetton, "each edition takes a major social issue - war, religion, race, travel - and watches it unfold around the world." One of the first issues of Colors was "The Race Issue," which featured a computer-generated picture of the Queen changing her race to Indian. This created a huge furor in the English press which of course brought Benetton massive free publicity.Benetton courted controversy and reveled in it when it arrived. Benetton declared its ad campaign to be "not only a means of communication but an expression of our time."Whether this type of advertising was effective or not depends on the sales generated by the Benetton stores. Since their target market was most likely the younger generation who are generally more open-minded, then such a campaign would be deemed the perfect tool to attract interest from that market segment.From their website: Today, the Benetton Group is present in 120 countries around the world. Its core business is clothing: a group with a strong Italian character whose style, design expertise and passion are clearly seen in the United Colors of Benetton and the more fashion-orientated Sisley brands, and in sportswear brands Playlife and Killer Loop. The Group produces over 110 million garments every year, over 90% in Europe. Its retail network of 5,000 stores around the world is increasingly focused on large floor-space points of sale offering high quality customer services and now generates a total turnover of 1.9 billion euros, net of retail sales.Major LearningsSome believe that Benetton may not have been "sincere" in its campaign and may even have been exploiting controversial issues such as human misery in order to obtain free publicity. Nevertheless, this case shows that such advertisements - whether sincere or not, whether positive or negative, and whether tasteless or works of art - were able to generate the attention which the company craved for and took the most advantage of.Toscani believed that "advertising is the richest and most powerful medium existing today" and must be shocking so that people would remember it. Although Benetton claimed that they were not selling a product and were instead showing human realities that they were aware of, such statements as the HIV ad did not appeal to the American market. This and future controversial ads similarly angered many people but the Benetton group still believes that "such communication is an expression of our time. Through their universal impact, they have succeeded in attracting the attention of the public and in standing out amid the current clutter of images." Their ads have always been focal points of discussion and an avenue for passionate confrontation of ideas."Communication should never be commissioned from outside the company, but conceived from within its heart." - Luciano Benetton

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