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Benetton’s colorful world
Different brands of Benetton
Benetton’s think tank “Fabrica” and its cultural activities
The unconventional advertising
OLIVIERO TOSCANI’S PHILOSOPHY
Brain behind the advertising
A revert to the conventional ways
Benetton, the Italian retailer was engaged in the manufacturing and distribution of clothing, undergarments, shoes, cosmetics and accessories. Benetton also licensed its brand name to various manufacturers of sunglasses, stationery, cosmetics, linens, watches, toys, steering wheels, golf equipment, designer condoms and luggage. The group’s important brands included United Colors of Benetton (UCB), Sisley, PlayLife and Killer Loop. During fiscal 2002, Benetton reported revenues of €1.99 billion and net income of €128 million. Benetton spent €102 million on advertising and promotion during the year. In addition to retail outlets around the world, Benetton also operated mega stores (3000 square foot stores) in cities such as Paris, Rome, Kobe, Osaka, New York, London, Moscow and Lisbon. As of 2002, the company operated in about 120 countries through its 5000 retail stores and employed about 7250 people. Benetton was well known for its colorful and provocative advertisements. The company employed unusual, controversial advertising techniques and themes that used “shock value” and the power of photography to grab viewers’ attention. Unlike most advertisements which centered on a company’s product or image, Benetton’s advertising campaigns focused on social and political issues like racial integration, AIDS awareness, war, poverty, child labor, death, pollution etc. The advertisements initially succeeded in raising the brand's profile, but eventually began to cause dissatisfaction among customers, retailers, government bodies and various international non-profit organizations. Some of Benetton’s most memorable advertisements were a priest and a nun kissing, a just born baby with uncut umbilical cord, a black stallion and a white mare mating, a colorful mix of condoms, a black woman breast- feeding a white baby, the photo of an AIDS victim and his family taken moments before his death, the bloody uniform of a dead Bosnian soldier. Following the controversy surrounding a particularly provocative campaign called “We, On Death Row,” Oliviero Toscani, Benetton’s Creative Director and Photographer, resigned from the company in May 2000. Benetton realized that it had crossed even the boundaries of unconventional advertising. Various surveys suggested that some loyal customers had been put off by this campaign. One industry expert commented about Toscani: “He has left a famous brand badly besmirched. Many of the things done in that name have encountered a great deal of public resentment, hostility and boycott. It can be overcome, but not easily.” Following Toscani’s departure, 28-year-old Fabrica (Benetton’s Communication department) student James Mollison took over as Benetton’s Creative Director. Under Mollison, it seemed Benetton was reverting to a more traditional advertising strategy.
WHO ARE THEY?
Luciano, Giuliana, Gilberto and Carlo Benetton, launched the activities of the Benetton Group in 1965. The company is today present in 120 countries around the world. Its core business is fashion apparel with the casual United Colors of Benetton, the glamour oriented Sisley, Playlife American college style and Killer Loop streetwear brands. Benetton Group is listed on the stock exchange of Milan. Luciano Benetton Born in 1935, Luciano Benetton is Chairman of the Benetton Group. He is also on the Board of Directors of Edizione Holding, the family-owned financial holding company and was a Senator of the Italian Republic from 1992 to 1994. He is the father of four children. Giuliana Benetton Born in 1937, Giuliana Benetton is currently on the Board of Directors of both Edizione Holding (the family-owned financial holding company) and Benetton Group. She is married and has four children. Gilberto Benetton Born in 1941, Gilberto Benetton is President of Edizione Holding, the family holding company, President of Autogrill and Director of Benetton Group. He is also a Director of Atlantia S.p.A, Mediobanca S.p.A and Pirelli S.p.A. He is married and has two daughters. Carlo Benetton Born in 1943, Carlo Benetton is Deputy Chairman of both Edizione Holding (the familyowned financial holding company) and of Benetton Group. He is the father of four children.
Each of the four siblings took responsibility for one aspect of the business. 1980s Benetton communication campaigns: known all over the world. With thirty thousand lire. Luciano Benetton. As the business grew. Carlo managed production. 2000s Benetton grows with the market: about 160 million garments sold annually in more than 5. His sister Guiliana worked as a knitter in a local factory. 1965 The Benetton Group is established. the remaining two brothers joined the company.500 contemporary stores. The Benetton family (consisting of three brothers and a sister) established the Benetton chain in a small Italian town in 1955. Guiliana bought a knitting machine and put together a collection of 18 brightly colored sweaters. 1970s A business model making the difference: unique. Luciano concentrated on marketing. flexible and innovative. Benetton was formally incorporated in 1965 as “Maglificio di Ponzano Veneto dei Fratelli Benetton. Luciano and Guiliana decided to start their own apparel company. 1990s A global company present in 120 countries. Recognizing the potential for a new business. dropped out of school to sell apparel. To support his family.” . These sweaters were immediately sold to the local stores. Gilberto handled administration and finance.BACKGROUND NOTE 1960s The idea of color. Guiliana directed the design department.
the Benetton family decided to create a network of exclusive distributors. Nordica ski boots. Tomato. However. the chain had built a significant presence in the major US cities and in Japan. By 1975. Benetton had become a major player in Italy with about 200 shops (not all of them carrying the Benetton name).5 million. racquetball-racquet maker Ektelon and snowboard brand Killer Loop. Fabrica (from the Latin word meaning workshop) concentrated on communication projects ranging from cinema to graphics. In addition to setting up retail outlets across the world. In 1994. Benetton went on an acquisition spree and purchased companies such as Rollerblade (inline skates). photo and design studios. To appeal to different segments of population. Spain and the US. Benetton set up Fabrica. Over a period of time. Benetton opened a similar store in Paris. By the mid1980s. a communications research center. which included Sisley. was an immediate success.The Benetton family initially sold their apparel through leading Italian department stores. offering them yearlong fellowships. co-produced by Fabrica. Nordica skis (originally Kästle). The first store. In January 2003. Benetton also reached an agreement with Lincolnshire Management Inc. Among Fabrica’s successful projects were the film “Blackboards. Unlike most small producers. Two months later. and used sub-contractors.Princess Caroline of Monaco and Princess Diana of Wales. Benetton sold Nordica to skiwear firm Tecnica for €38 million. Switzerland. Scotland. these brand names were rolled into the Benetton name. Benetton went public by offering 15.” which won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 and the film “No Man’s Land. who opted for the widest possible distribution. video and music labs. the film “Dayereh. During the late 1960s and the early 1970s. The research center housed several film. Britain.. a US private equity fund for the sale of Prince and Ektelon brands for about €36. Prince Tennis (racquets).6 million common shares (10% of the company). which won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Film in 2002. Employees were also offered shares.” Fabrica invited students from different countries. art. Benetton announced that it would also sell Rollerblade to Tecnica for around €20 million. But as the business picked up. with creative talents. Shortly thereafter. and the Scandinavian countries. from industrial design to music. Benetton rapidly expanded by setting retail outlets in France. Luciano described Fabrica as: “a bridge between a visionary dream: between utopia and the reality a world facing changes that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. Benetton also set up manufacturing facilities in France. Merceria and 012. In 1986. Benetton opened stores under different brand names. from publishing to new media to photography. . West Germany. these brands performed poorly and Benetton decided to divest all of them. During the 1990s. Benetton’s popularity grew with an impressive list of clientele.” which won a special award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000. the company entered into an agreement to open an exclusive store for marketing the apparel. opened in 1969.
characterised by prestigious locations in historic and commercial centres and by the high level of customer services offered. Villa Minelli is a complex of sixteenth century buildings of great historical and cultural interest. about 30 km from Venice. The design team is also engaged in researching new materials and creating new lines for different targets from children.500 stores worldwide The development of Benetton's commercial network. Playlife American college style and Killer Loop streetwear brands. entrusted to architects Afra and Tobia Scarpa. offering them not only practical and modern styles but also maximum comfort. took over fifteen years. STORES 5. DESIGN A staff of 300 designers from all over the world creates the collections for the casual United Colors of Benetton. . The result is the latest trends in design and a rich output of many models a year which are realized with computer assisted design systems fully integrated with the rest of the company's production phases. the glamour oriented Sisley. The villa was acquired by Benetton in 1969 and the task of restoring and remodernising the complex. men and women to expectant mothers. has been supported by a major programme of investment worldwide.HEADQUARTERS Villa Minelli Benetton Group's Corporate headquarters is located at Villa Minelli in Ponzano. The Benetton stores carry complete collections. From the mid 1980s Villa Minelli became the headquarters of the Group and home to all its strategic functions. offering a full range of Benetton style and quality. as well as a wide selection of accessories.
Special attention is given to innovation in production.PRODUCTION Consistently high quality is one of the fundamental characteristics of the Benetton production process from the raw materials to the finished garment. a crucial factor for development. has always characterized the Group’s business organization. co-ordinated by a high-tech facility at Castrette (Treviso. Dyeing Since the beginning dyeing has always been a crucial phase in the Benetton production process. from communication to IT. seamless sweater in half an hour thanks to a software program conceived by Benetton specialists. The Benetton production system. Italy) is capable of turning out about 160 million garments every year. where all systems and equipment are totally renewed every five years. The dyeing vats are operational 24 hours a day. from research into new materials to integrated logistics. . Seamless Sweater One of Benetton's innovations is the computerised knitting procedure capable of producing a complete. A constant commitment to innovation. Computerized Knitting Machines Benetton is the world's largest consumer of pure virgin wool and operates with a structure of computerized machines that are programmed to operate all knitting phases.
.DISTRIBUTION From the very beginning.000 square meters. from customer orders to packing and delivery.000 boxes.500 shops worldwide. packed into boxes and sent directly to the automated distribution system through a tunnel of approximately one kilometer.000 incoming/outgoing boxes daily with a workforce of only 24. compared to the 400 people normally required in a traditionally organized operation. About 160 million flat and hanging garments are automatically sorted every year. ` The finished product is sent directly to the Group's more than 5. with a total capacity of 400. and is able to handle 40. Automated Shipping The Automated Distribution System covers an area of 20. Benetton decided to maintain direct control of the logistics phase and has invested heavily in automating logistics processes in order to achieve total integration within the production cycle. Automated Sorting System These automated machines are capable of assembling individual orders for Benetton's more than 5.500 retail outlets in 120 countries worldwide.
. childrenswear and underwear collections offer a total look for everyday. beachwear and sleepwear collections. United Colors of Benetton has an international style that combines color. Sisley presents elegant and seductive collections. for work and for leisure. Its creative artists and independent sales teams concentrate their efforts on its image and on strong-impact advertising campaigns. as well as accessories for women. from the elegant accessories to the eyewear lines and perfumes.THEIR BRANDS United Colors of Benetton A global brand. Undercolors of Benetton An extension of the Benetton brand. The brand has created the very fashionable Sisley Young line for children from 8 to 12 years old. Each season the womenswear. Undercolors is available in its own chain of stores which now has more than 500 locations in thirty countries and in selected Benetton Shops. from the home collection to baby products. The brand is present in many other sectors. and one of the most well known in the world. featuring underwear. The above products are available in selected specialized shops worldwide. quality and fashion. in the city and outdoors. menswear. The Benetton Baby label is a new product line dedicated to the prenatal and the under-fives world. Sisley This is the Group's most fashion forward brand. A wide selection of recurring basic colors is enriched every season with the latest trends. men and children. fabrics and new shapes. with special attention given to the choice of design.
. Killer Loop is the Benetton brand that edgily interprets "street" vibrations. exclusive sports clubs and a strong sense of individuality. with a resolute and distinctive style. Its clean and elegant collections display a blend of the American college.Playlife This is the Benetton sportswear brand that redefines a style. Killer Loop A fashion brand for young adults. The brand’s new store concept reflects the same values and highlights their emotional content. It is inspired by teenagers’ favorite role models and icons.
offices. was set up in 1994.A creative think tank Fabrica. photography. each other. and draw inspiration from. social or environmental sciences. Benetton’s communication research centre. Communication research at Fabrica services a wide variety of social causes and disciplines such as economics. as part of the architecture reaches its climax in the huge elliptical piazza. music and film to photography. using a form of communication which no longer relies only on the usual kinds of advertising. a cinema. Fabrica’s challenge is both an innovative and international one. publishing and the Internet. cinema. Fabrica has chosen to back the hidden creativity of young artists/researchers from all over the world. advertising agency or university. Fabrica’s aim is to grasp the future by giving innovative exposure to cultural or scientific projects which open a window onto tomorrow’s world. blurring the boundaries of culture and language and transgressing the traditional borders between a diverse range of communication mediums. a studio of sorts in which young. The role of the new architecture is to bring out the charm and strength of the ancient villa and to give birth to a reciprocal. in Fabrica “there is architecture of the past and the present. modern artists come from all over the world to develop innovative projects and explore new directions in myriad avenues of communication. Italy in a complex restored and enlarged by Tadao Ando. from design. The fruit of the Group’s cultural legacy is based in Treviso. It is a way of marrying culture and industry. laboratories. The use of natural elements. music. the Internet.THEIR COMMUNICATION . publishing. such as light and air. cathartic . It is an applied creativity laboratory. As Tadao Ando says. meeting and refreshment areas. These artist-experimenters are accompanied along their research path by leading figures in art and communication. a talent incubator. Fabrica is not a school. facilities such as a library and an auditorium. but conveys industrial culture and the company’s intellect through other media: design. the two put their trust in. This project included the creation of study areas.
. between people and history or nature. which normally play a secondary or insignificant role. have been given due attention. places which encourage dialogue between people from different backgrounds”. even the transit areas.relationship between old and new in an atmosphere of complete harmony. transcending the limits of a specific period. They act as places for communion and communication between people. Therefore.
Design Highlights Fabrica Features (2000 . input and display devices. interactive games and multimedia events. new ideas and materials to create the forms of the future. These range from new shop and exhibition layouts to collections of objects using new styles and expressions. live performances and workshops offer major opportunities for people to meet. based on what's happening in the news. Latin America). Interactive Media projects also address video art. experimentation and research are keys to this process and the team is committed to exploring innovative ways of interaction using new forms of networked systems. including “Ideas on the Table” and “Fab Tab” for Paola C. . Design Fabrica's young designers are working on innovative projects regarding product.000 animations were uploaded. Product Collections (2002 . in order to support and encourage independent voices from the "rest of the world" (particularly Africa. Ten by Ten A new piece of Internet art that automatically collects the top 100 words and pictures in the world. interiors and industrial design. Interactive Media The exploration of the new opportunities offered by interactive media is the focal point of the work of Fabrica’s young Web designers.2008) Fabrica’s young designers have created numerous design collections for major international brands. In just a few months. the Arab world. every hour.2008) Retail spaces that sell the brand’s design articles and double as multiethnic and multimedia spaces where concerts. “Liquid Lights” for Metalarte and garden furnishing accessories for Casamania.Cinema and Video Fabrica has co-produced a number of films and videos that competed at the leading international film festivals. Interactive Media Highlights FLIPBOOK! An interactive animation project that enables anyone to draw an animate story. Apart from the development of Internet sites that have won many international awards. Asia.. than upload it and share it online. screenings. the site dad 15 million visitors and over 200.
social and economic development of our planet presented for the first time at the “Fabrica: les yeux ouverts” exhibition Centre Pompidou. Paris. in association with prestigious festivals and concert halls such as the RomaEuropa Festival. Examples include Prayer (a collection of modern prayers). Philip Glass. All soundtracks for videos produced by Fabrica are composed by the department. Fabrica Musica has set up collaborations with high profile international artists like Michael Nyman. Berlin's Cinema Festival and the Brisbane Music Festival. 1000 Extra/Ordinary objects (the craziest objects of the twentieth century). Photography Photography is undoubtedly central to Fabrica’s research work. artistic. Heiner Goebbels and Koichi Makigami. like publishing. . Mail Me (research for the design of a new mailbox). Lavoratori (black and white photo report on immigrants in north-eastern Italy). London's Barbican Centre. has produced a major series of publications. Shrinivas. cultural. for which Fabrica often handles the photography. U. A photographer’s eye is behind many of Benetton Group’s communication campaigns and also behind photo reportages. Photography Highlights I SEE (2006) A long journey in search of the current directions of the historical. Kosovars (portraits of Kosovan refugees in Albanian camps). Fabrica Forma Fotografia (2006-2008) An international award for a social documentary photographic project jointly launched by Fabrica and Forma.Music Music is another area in which Fabrica explores new forms of communication through the creativity of artist experimenters from around the world. exhibitions and publishing projects. Publishing Activity in traditional media forms. the Kronos Quartet. At Fabrica Young musicians come together to give new forms of expression to music through the artistic use of multimedia resources and the exploration of alternative languages in sound. the International Centre for Photography.
which featured the 25 most influential design objects of the past 25 years. restored and enlarged by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. immediate impact. in the ranking of the 51 best magazines of all times.PROJECTS Colors Magazine Established in 1991. one of the most popular and critically acclaimed sites on the Internet. Over the years COLORS has become a unique point of reference in the global publishing world. the fight against aids. its three editions were published in four languages. and the frankly frivolous such as shopping. It is sold in over 40 countries. COLORS is also a website. political and cultural identities. It has stirred public attention to topics and themes originating in areas of the world that other publications seldom write about with depth and freshness. under Tibor Kalman’s editorship. wars around the world. under the editorship of Tibor Kalman. The magazine has received media accolades from all over the world. which included the first thirteen issues. COLORS' expressive medium: a method that is universal and reaches the greatest number of people with a strong. COLORS is a quarterly magazine read by young adults across the world. a documentary trilogy produced in Canada that explores the evolution of magazines from their European origins to their current popularity and the powerful influence they have on our social. such as for example Good Magazine. The full series of COLORS issues was included in the 25/25 exhibition at the Design Museum. COLORS' editorial offices are situated in Fabrica's architectural complex. with the premise that diversity is positive and that all cultures have equal value. Benetton's communication research centre. an American bi-monthly cultural and lifestyle publication. Pictures are. Using this visual language. London (29 March-22 June 2007). until now. COLORS' themes alternate between the challengingly serious. fashion and toys. today COLORS is part of the publishing activity of Fabrica. Recently Colors has been included in Inside the great magazines. above all else. and it has a network of external collaborators in the four corners of the earth. such as ecology. .
Fabrica Features Fabrica features is an ongoing series on design collections. A different way of really giving voice to “the rest of the world”. desperation. for an open-minded audience. thousands of COLORS Notebooks have been distributed around the world. infused with their fresh and imaginative visions. all different yet all alike. . to give voice to those categories of humanity no one wants to listen to. oppression. and Reporters Without Borders. editing or censure. anxiety. Lisbon (Portugal). A COLORS issue with no filters. drawings or photos. just as the artistic community at Fabrica. featuring useful and practical objects. An issue in which anyone is free to tell their story and send a message to the world through their words. COLORS Notebook is a “special” issue of COLORS. Paris. Rotterdam. Thousands of people.Colors Notebook COLORS Notebook is the fruit of a project launched by COLORS Magazine in collaboration with the Pompidou Centre. Since 2006. it contains 50 blank pages so whoever receives it can express themselves as they like in any way they want. Each piece is designed by the young artists of Fabrica. Each COLORS Notebook sent back to COLORS is totally unique. Fabrica Features exhibits are constantly changing and evolving. with temporary stores in Paris. London and now Porto. while maintaining quality and vision. Fabrica Features is also a network of commercial and cultural spaces which are currently opened in Bologna and Montecatini (Italy). the association which sustains freedom of speech and defends journalists across the world. Istanbul (Turkey) and Hong Kong. who filled and continue to fill their Notebooks with messages of creativity. imagination.
activists. scientists and others to share their visions about the future of our planet with a broad public and let them decide if either they agree up on their thoughts or not. sociologists. From 18th January to 2nd March 2008 Fabrica: les yeux ouverts was hosted at the Shiodomeitalia Creative Center in Tokyo. demonstrating its documentary work through COLORS and photo reportages. It showcases Fabrica’s many different “souls”. presented at the Triennale in Milan during summer 2007 and hosted in autumn 2007 in China. at the Shanghai Art Museum.Fabrica Features is a multiethnic. the exhibition has become a wandering project. Stock Exchange of Visions consists of an interactive installation and website which allows the participant to access the growing content of the project and interact with it. economy. conferences. thus contributing to the awareness of our relationship with the planet while supplying positive and thoughtful answers regarding major global issues. Stock Exchange of Visions is in constant evolution. The installation is a site-specific knowledge hub while the website provides global access to the visions of the future collected by the project. . and its more artistic. multimedia and multipurpose space where concerts. visionary and conceptual side through films and installations. environment and society. Following the attention shown to this project by international media and the high number of visitors. live performances. The visions are categorized into five areas: culture. Les Yeux Ouverts Fabrica: Les Yeux Ouverts is the exhibition curated by the Centre Pompidou and presented in Paris in autumn 2006. Further editions will take place in the next future. Stock Exchange of Visions The Stock Exchange of Visions project was initiated to provide a platform for the world leading artists. Every category has its own color. single-artist shows and workshops become key opportunities for gathering together. Resources Food Economy Culture Art Design Mass media Morality War and peace Religion Environment Cities Houses Animals Earth Water Evolution Society Family death Sex Politics Technology Human rights Communication Money Natural resources Globalization Energy Migration Mobility Corporations Growth Balances Consumerism Responsibility Visionaries from diverse nationalities and cultures who hail from a wide range of specialties have provided insight into their vision for the future. video shows. resources.
The installation was first seen at the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. The Stock Exchange of Visions Installation is a traveling installation. The installation features a revolutionary interactive menu to access the visions of the future. which has been presented at the main cultural outlets of Europe. while the website provides constant global access to the content of the project. The objective of this traveling installation is to allow visitors to have an interactive physical experience with the visions of the future. the world. . The life-size video screen aims to create a dialogue sphere between the selected visionary and the installation participant. interactive knowledge experience. the second presentation will be the Trienale of Milan and the next stage. which are projected onto a life-size video screen.Installation The Stock Exchange of Visions installation creates an on-site.
In this field of research and experimentation. maps and images archive. are Fabrica. The main field of scientific activity concerns the knowledge. study trips and experimental workshops. During the year. Some of these. . the Benetton Foundation also boasts a comprehensive documentation centre. which focuses on issues relating to the preservation and promotion of the local culture and landscape heritage. a campaign of study and publications is organized on a site designated by an international jury who then awards the International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens. and Gaetano Cozzi’s house. and Colors. Benetton’s communication research centre.CULTURE AND SOCIETY A bridge between culture and society The Benetton Group has long been involved in a series of cultural. promotes initiatives on both international and local levels. comprised of a library which contains more than sixty thousand volumes. the magazine about the rest of the world. Moreover. with the aim of safeguarding and raising awareness of natural heritage. Others reflect the Group’s international outlook. study and management of landscape. one of the great engravers of 20th-century Italy. It also organizes multiple initiatives at its headquarters which is comprised of two prestigious historic buildings. reflect the strong links which the Group has traditionally maintained with its territorial roots. volleyball and basketball. such as the Benetton Foundation. established in 1987. to its historic victories in Formula One. but an important social element. It has received some important donations: the works of Lino Bianchi Barriviera. the group promotes not only the quest for competitive excellence. the Foundation collaborates to the construction of a new concept Europeon University. scientific. such as the Leleque Museum under the patronage of Benetton in Patagonia or the Pivano Library. From its involvement in rugby. The social commitment of the Benetton Group has been developing for decades thanks to the strong relationship and cooperation with renowned international non profit organizations. The territorial ties are also an important component of Benetton’s approach to sport. In the Palazzo Caotorta. open to research and a desire of documentation. artistic and sporting activities. social. artistic and musical events. in the Palazzo Bomben the Foundation has exposition rooms and an auditorium where it organizes cultural. Benetton Foundation The Benetton Foundation. the Foundation organizes seminars. the libraries of Ippolito Pizzetti and Fernanda Pivano. Moreover. Always with an international spirit. short courses. devoted particularly to the city and the youth and school world.
an internationally renowned Spanish architect. testimony. The centre was designed by Alberto Campo Baeza. at the very foot of the Andes. and give support to the community. can appreciate and discover their history. immersed in the sound of the wind. . Its purpose is to provide an essential service which will improve the quality of life and work of the Group employees. in the same environment inhabited by Indians thousands of years ago. In planning an educational facility aimed at excellence. Their conflicts. the Leleque museum was inaugurated as the result of the will and passion of both Pablo Korchenewski.000 exhibits. visitors. the changes undergone by the societies living in the territory and the relationship between different ethnic groups. research and the wellbeing of the community and therefore appointed Reggio Children as the pedagogic consultant for the new school. Ponzano Children Benetton has always held strong links with its town of origin and was keen to offer its help in creating a children’s centre. Benetton Group placed great importance on social interaction. and of Carlo Benetton. Sisley Volley 9 and Benetton Basket 5. Over the years this has translated into numerous victories. documents and photographs narrate 13. and religious rites are some of the issues approached in this long history. The Leleque Museum narrates the experience of indigenous peoples and immigrants in Patagonia. For the Group. Basketball and Volleyball teams in Treviso. It is the first and only such structure dedicated to the history of Patagonia. sport and business have the same philosophy: passion. More than 15. One hundred meters away from the “La Trochita” rails. who has devoted an entire lifetime to collecting artefacts of Patagonian populations.Museo Leleque Under the patronage of Benetton in Patagonia. competition and results. SPORTS SPONSORSHIP Benetton Group has for many years sponsored the Rugby. thanks to which Benetton Rugby has collected 13 league championships.000 years of history and culture of a mythical land. including archaeological remains. highlighting Benetton’s profound link with its roots and its hometown in a context that is not only competitive but also social. challenge. and conscious of the ethic and social role of its corporate culture. beliefs.
EDITORIAL PROJECTS Over the years. year after year. enjoyable. dating from 1964 to the present. Published by: Skira . Published by: Skira Benetton Formula 1. originating from a passionate interest for architectural projects that transform the workplace into a functional. passion. a story (2006) A volume to narrate the near twenty-year-experience in F1. avant garde technology: these are the ingredients of Benetton’s adventure in the motor-racing world. Color. Highlights: Benetton Basket – Twenty-five years (2006) The volume records the history of the famous Italian basketball team. between Benetton Group and art. An anti-celebratory book. Gilberto Benetton. through the words of its founder. attractive environment where very diverse people meet and communicate. These books contain experiences and passions that have become stories to tell through words and images. enthusiasm. team spirit. Published by: Skira Architecture for Benetton (2004) A chronicle in pictures of the relationship. editorial activity has produced projects which are particularly representative of Benetton Group’s entrepreneurial culture. the heady scent of victory.
Benetton believed in pursuing an unconventional communication strategy. By linking the varying colors in the Benetton collection to the diverse “colors” of its world customers. with the company logo in the corner. While the company received several letters of praise for company’s message on racial integration.” Until the 1980s. In 1984.” showing groups of teenagers and kids from different countries and ethnic groups dressed in Benetton clothing. contained within a dark green rectangle). It was from these advertisements that the trademark “United Colors of Benetton” emerged. Benetton advertisements had largely focused on its products and logo (stylized knot of yarn with word Benetton printed under it. Toscani’s initial advertisements were conventional.EVOLUTION OF BENETTON’S COMMUNICATION STRATEGY -UNCONVENTIONAL ADVERTISING From the early 1980s. Toscani’s first theme featured teenagers and kids from culturally diverse nations. Luciano hired Oliviero Toscani. They showed groups of young people wearing Benetton clothing. But Luciano and Toscani soon realized that Benetton advertisements had to stand apart from the rest of the competition. The company has opted for a communication strategy in which issues and not clothes. They decided to promote Benetton as a ‘life style accessory’ and not as a clothing brand. a prominent fashion and advertisements photographer to head Benetton’s advertising department. The company has decided to devote some of its advertising budget to communicate on themes relevant to young and old people worldwide. Toscani portrayed a picture of racial harmony and world peace. Colorfully dressed in Benetton attire. the kids engaged in a variety of playful acts. Benetton launched a similar campaign titled “All the colors in the World. As one company document put it: “Benetton believes that it is important for companies to take a stance in the real world instead of using their advertising budget to perpetuate the myth that they can make consumers happy through the mere purchase of their product. play the lead part. In 1982. it evoked negative sentiments especially .
Israelis and Arabs. Joan of Arc and Marilyn Monroe. advertisements included two black boys kissing each other. Bruno Suter. all captioned with the slogan: “United Superstars of Benetton. etc. Israel and Germany. The message read: “All colors are equal. united by a globe and a chain with the peace symbol.in South Africa. made up of people with different colored skin. we started out with the notion of color.” Through such advertisements. we showed a group. Similar themed advertisements were launched for other countries in political battles with each other: England and Argentina. Leonardo de Vinci and Julius Caesar.” In 1986. Benetton started blending culture and legends. The globe became a symbol of unification. the two little black boys appeared again. In 1988. commented on this multi-race theme: “Nothing more is more like a fashion photograph than another fashion photograph. so exhilarating to show the products in such a new and simple way. With Benetton.” In 1985.a wolf and a lamb with the tagline: “United Friends of Benetton. with little US and USSR flags in their hair and painted on their cheeks with the tagline “United Colors of Benetton. Director of Eldorado Agency that handled Benetton’s advertising account. Benetton means colors.” Similar campaigns featured animals. to convey this idea of colors. By definition. It was fantastic. just as all men are equal. New advertisements featured Adam and Eve. So. England and the US. and appeared on all the posters that year.” . Benetton aimed to create a feeling of world peace and harmony. You show some lovely looking models and that’s it. Iran and Iraq.
However.In 1989. Benetton decided to cancel its agreement with outside advertising agencies and develop campaigns in house. By removing these images from their familiar contexts and putting them in a new context they are more likely to be noticed and given the attention they deserve as the viewer becomes involved in the process of answering the questions: What does this image mean? Why does this image appear with a Benetton logo? How do I feel about the subject of the image? What can I do?” Famous advertisements during the late 1980s included a black hand and a white hand linked by a handcuff and a black woman breast-feeding a white baby. Since Benetton’s clothing was sold in various markets with different style preferences. miners and bakers united by the black of the soot or coal and the white of the flour. two children (one black.white baby advertisement was severely criticized by many who thought that Benetton was reminding blacks of the days of slavery when black women breast-fed white babies. Toscani turned his focus to photos that stimulated thinking.” Luciano explained this decision: “Using these images in this unconventional way is an effort by Benetton to break through the complacency that exists in our society due to the constant flow of even the most horrendous realities communicated through conventional media such as the evening news or the morning paper. tubes of personality tests. a little black hand on a big white hand. at about one-third the cost of its competitors. . a piano duo showing little white hands being helped by big black hands. Other advertisements with a similar message included a white wolf and a black sheep nose to nose. the other white) facing each other sitting on their potties. Benetton could produce advertisements. a black child sleeping among a pile of white teddy-bears. The knot logo was replaced with a small green rectangle with the tagline “United Colors of Benetton. His new advertisements neither showed the products nor the logo. The black woman. With less than ten people managing the entire process. Benetton maintained that such photos symbolized universal brotherhood. Toscani’s photos were discussed by the advertising team and then shown to Luciano for final approval.
He selected various photojournalistic images related to the AIDS crisis. our images usually have no copy and no product. only our logo. But some liked it.In 1991. a boat overcrowded with Albanians. All they attempt to do is promote a discussion about issues which people would normally glide over if they approached them from other channels. One advertisement featuring a priest and nun kissing offended the religious sentiments of many. Many wanted it to be banned. environmental disaster. a car in flames after a Mafia bombing. the advertisement simply conveyed the beauty of new life and the universal idea of love. etc. These appeared in various journals and magazines as well as on billboards without written text except for the conspicuous insertion of the green and white Benetton logo. Toscani introduced a number of advertisements that attempted to draw public attention to important social problems. they do not even imply it. Toscani introduced political themes in Benetton’s advertisements. many different brightly colored condoms and a baby with an umbilical cord. the image was exhibited in a Flemish museum as part of a show celebrating the images of motherhood. political violence. In the company’s view. They do not show you a fictitious reality in which you will be irresistible if you make use of our products. The image of the baby with the umbilical cord evoked mixed responses. . issues we feel should be more widely discussed. In 1992.” Advertisements included: a dying AIDS victim with his family at his bedside. Toscani explained the company’s strategy: “Unlike traditional adverts. including the Pope. a family weeping before the bloodied corpse of a Mafioso and two Indians caught in a flood in Calcutta. exile. a group of African refugees. The photo triggered off a huge controversy throughout Europe. an African guerrilla holding a Kalashnikov and a human leg bone. war. Toscani went one step further by embracing “reality advertising.” In spite of the controversy his advertisements had generated. They do not tell anyone to buy our clothes. The advertisements included a cemetery (signifying war deaths). For example.
In January 2000. The booklet included photos of the inmates and interviews about their life and the punishment. black.” then they would be less inclined to see them executed. three identical human hearts. on Death Row. of different ages and of different colors with the label “United Colors of Benetton. Other controversial advertisements included a black stallion mounting a white mare. .long $15 million global advertising campaign called “We. no matter what the outside skin color was.” This campaign. two women.” The tattoo mark was similar to the numbers tattooed by Nazis on concentration camp prisoners. challenging the right of the state to execute its citizens.Benetton also launched an advertisement with a series of masculine and feminine genitals. Toscani developed the campaign after spending more than two years visiting death row prisoners in several American prisons. holding an Asian baby. yellow”.one white and the other black.” A more shocking advertisement showed close-ups of various parts of the human body tattooed with the English abbreviation “HIV Positive. with stickers announcing different ethnic groups “white. The advertisements featured full color faces of death-row inmates. The hearts portrayed that all were same inside. wrapped in the same blanket. appeared on billboards and in major publications in Europe. Benetton believed that if the public saw these inmates as “people. Benetton launched a year. Some advertisements also promoted homosexuality: two smiling men cheek to cheek. which featured 26 US prisoners who had been sentenced to death. etc. A special booklet and video was also released that projected the reality and futility of capital punishment. The booklet also contained carefully selected quotes from the Dalai Lama and the Pope. America and Asia and on its website. printing their names and dates of execution.
The campaign resulted in widespread protests from individuals and governments. The photo showing a priest and a nun kissing was promptly banned by the Italian Advertising Authority (The Vatican took a stern view but in England.” The state of Missouri (US) where the inmates in question were imprisoned filed a suit against Benetton. We don’t apologize for the fact that dual purposes can be achieved. In 1995. Mark Major. Many resented that the campaigns did not mention how the prisoners felt about the serious crimes they had committed. it’s not a contrived topic. France and the UK. . Director of Communications for Benetton US in New York defended the campaign: “We don’t develop contrived marketing campaigns that are merely designed to sell products. Benetton was also sued by many retail outlets. arguing that it had been misled regarding the use of the photos. many newspapers in various countries had refused to accept Benetton advertisements.” Responding to such allegations. this advertisement won the Eurobest Award). which believed the provocative advertisements drove away customers. Over the years. the human body stamped “HIV Positive. which featured child labor. One website called Pro-death penalty. This lawsuit was settled in June 2001 when Benetton agreed to write letters of apology to the four Missouri families whose relatives were murdered by the inmates featured in the ads and to donate $50. It’s definitely something that people at Benetton feel very strongly about. We can raise brand awareness that we are a company that cares about capital punishment and we can get people engaged in the topic. The families of the victims and prisoners objected strongly to the campaign and accused Benetton of glamorizing murderers while ignoring the crimes they had committed.000 to the Missouri Crime Victims Compensation Fund.com wrote: “While Benetton tries to improve their market share in the US. they are causing unnecessary pain and distress to the families of the innocent people killed by the men the campaign intends to humanize. The advertisement featuring the newborn baby with the uncut umbilical cord was withdrawn from the media in Italy.” and a bird stuck in an oil slick. the more publicity Benetton seemed to get. government authorities in Germany banned some Benetton advertisements. But the more the company’s advertisements were banned. When we talk about death row or AIDS or war or peace.
but we believe that all worthwhile stances will have supporters and detractors. . The company and the UN first worked together in 1996 for the World Food Summit organized by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) to discuss the problem of hunger in developing countries. As more and more people understand our position and the urgency of these issues. we hope to become the vehicle for discussion and not its focus. But. due to the increasing furor. In September 2001.” Sears ended its contract even after Benetton agreed to allow the retailer to preview future ads. A special issue of Colors Magazine was published for the campaign. Benetton organized a fund raising campaign for Kosovo with the collaboration of UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees). Our hope is that people will move from the sterile discussion of whether or not a company is entitled to illustrate its point of view in its advertising campaigns. weekly magazines. calling the death row images “terribly insensitive. Collaboration with the UN was an ongoing effort for Benetton. “Volunteers” was Benetton’s first campaign after Toscani’s exit and was developed by new Creative Director James Mollison. in collaboration with the United Nations (UN). Benetton launched a campaign called International Year of Volunteers.” In the US. Toscani believed that the sharp criticism in the US was not justified as Europe had more or less banned the death penalty. retailer Sears canceled an exclusive $100 million contract to sell a line of Benetton clothes. The campaign emphasized that devoting one’s time and energy to others led the way to selfimprovement and a better quality of life. In 1999. The following year Benetton and the UN came together again for a worldwide campaign celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. Toscani resigned in May 2000. to a discussion of the issues themselves. Toscani had hoped that this campaign would have a positive impact in the US where about 98 inmates had been executed in 1999. devoted entirely to voluntary effort. Such campaigns were shown throughout the world in newspapers. In various countries. women’s and lifestyle magazines and also on billboards located in major cities. this has already happened.Luciano Benetton responded to retailers and other protestors about its questionable advertising themes: “We are aware of the controversy that some of our images have caused.
English-Spanish and English-French. Launched in 1991. but brought Benetton massive publicity. boy scouts in Oman. catalog and TV media. travel. birth. Benetton launched the 56th volume of Colors.war. which featured “Violence” as the central issue. An important aspect of Benetton’s communication strategy was its Colors magazine. In May 2003. religion.Other campaigns following Toscani’s exit suggested that Benetton was changing its communication strategy. the magazine was sold in eighty countries. including Wodaabe warriors in Nigeria. Each edition of the magazine took an issue. . Others were discovered on the street in bars or riding the subway. created a huge furor in the English press. this campaign was available in print. “The Race Issue”. Over the years. The company started showcasing advertisements featuring exuberant models frolicking in colorful knitwear against a white background. The magazine was launched in four bilingual languages: English-Italian. English-German. Colors targeted young people across the world. slavery etc. race. the magazine had featured more than 5000 models. in an attempt to break the barriers of language and culture throughout the world. etc. which featured a computer-generated picture of the Queen. By 2002. immigration. Developed with a budget of $10 million dollars. Colombian soldiers. One model was a poet who performed at local coffee houses. changing her race to Indian. The models used in the campaign were not professionals. ecology.
I’m aware that. at least. consumers will work out for themselves that the products are good. All they know how to do is repeat what’s already been done. who are idiots. After that it started presenting products. Then. since all products started looking alike. an up-to-date company. That’s my work. model and merchandising. Toscani identified a number of drawbacks in traditional advertising: “There is a crisis in advertising. was to document social realities rather than promote sales. I’m not responsible for its economics. like a play or a film. it would be like throwing money away if we only explained that our product is better than the competition’s. if you buy a certain brand of sports shoes you can play like Ronaldo even if you can’t kick a ball. Advertising should give something more. Benetton has given me incredible freedom to propose issues that should be communicated.” . That has never happened because the only things that condition the industry are money and marketing managers. advertising must become an artistic product in itself. If they’re successful. I’m responsible for the company’s communications. Mr. Toscani believed that the industry as a whole had to change the way advertisements were used as consumer-spending patterns had changed over the years. In the early twentieth century advertising focused on a company’s buildings and machines. in the apparel business. He emphasized the need for creativity: “They have to be more creative. but the advertising industry couldn’t care less about creativity. The fact is that advertisers must explain the client company’s philosophy. to report something that exists. It tells them. Not the one usually followed by most companies. The problem with this technique is that the message is always based on consumers’ shortcomings and makes them feel guilty. To be really contemporary.” Toscani explained his role in Benetton: “Nobody ever told me my job was to sell anything. The industry is lagging behind social trends. they could no longer be at the heart of the message. To capture their attention. The product took a back seat and what was sold was a symbol.. we must take our communication in another direction. We can’t be like ostriches who put their head in the sand. ‘if you haven’t got this product.OLIVIERO TOSCANI’S ADVERTISING PHILOSOPHY The strong force behind Benetton’s advertisements was Oliviero Toscani who created advertisements the less traditional way. So in the 1960s advertisers started showing leggy models to sell cars. It wants to perpetuate the system to keep on living off it. but as a reporter-photographer.when there’s an obvious connection between product. Toscani’s responsibility.. you’re out of it.” Toscani saw himself not as an advertiser. but it’s so rich and powerful that it’s very difficult for it to change. as Benetton’s creative director. having a relatively big budget. He believed in communicating to the world in a less traditional way. On the other hand. The long legs offered added value.
the company associates itself with engineered feelings of empowerment and righteousness. AIDS awareness. Since I’ve been working for Benetton. Benetton announced it would revert to a more conventional advertising strategy. People who respect our clothing line are the only ones that actually buy it. he was supportive of the company’s decision not to move away from highlighting social causes. Toscani just commented: “It’s a waste of money. under the title “Hunger. By empowering the viewer. maintained that the company would still continue with its “socially responsible” status by focusing on non-controversial themes like racial discrimination. Benetton. Consumers want to buy our clothes because they are attractive and have a high quality reputation. we will attract more business. the consumer.” However. politically correct message.” The images in this campaign showed crisis and poverty. poverty. etc. By picturing our stylish clothes. and not a political or governmental company.teenagers in colorful Benetton clothing. When questioned about Benetton’s new strategy of using models and products to advertise. child labor. . which standardizes everything. called Food for Life.” Following Toscani’s exit. and memorability.” From 2001. our sales will greatly increase. despite the political issues that we represent. even if the message is made with shocking images. Advertising people hate me but they have to admit that I’ve won. Let’s show the world that we make great clothing. launched a year.He latter added: “To be successful advertising has to disconnect the message from the product and forget about marketing. This campaign covered around 30 countries and the stories and photos taken from these countries were used in Colors.” LOOKING AHEAD One leading business school publication summarized Benetton’s advertisements: “They seem to take the virtuous stand for the betterment of humanity and thus create a sense of power in the viewer who agrees with the safe. in early 2003. I’ve proved that it can be profitable. In reality Benetton creates an empowered viewer who will buy their product through shock value.long $16 million communication campaign. To that effect. the company has grown tenfold. I use products to focus on the major problems besetting humanity. empowerment. We need to show consumers that we are an actual clothing line. Benetton in association with UN’s World Food Programme. If we can undo the damage that we have already caused in the minds of many consumers by ceasing to offend them. The company’s website highlighted its advertising strategy for the future: “We need to have models wearing our clothes by UCB in our advertisements. Benetton’s advertisements started featuring conventional images. not that we have controversial opinions on various subjects. Through the use of such images Benetton as a company has become an icon for this kind of protest in advertising which tries to claim the ability for social change. I don’t do the same thing other people do. however.
com .Bibliography Global Retailing Industry.olivierotoscani.ICFAI www.benetton.un.com www.fabrica.jenmintzer.wikipedia.unodc.or.com www.com www.mcgraw-hill.com www.it www.th highered.org www.crito.cbsnews.edu www.uci.
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