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22 septembre 2012 6 22 /09 /septembre /2012 13:25




Benetton is a global clothing brand, based in Italy, which was launched in 1965. It has a network of about 5,500 stores in 120 countries, and generates a turnover of 2 billion euro per year.

B's business, casual clothing, is marketed as "the united colors of B". There are also fashion-oriented and leisurewear divisions.  

They've recently expanded into toiletries, perfumes, watches and items for the home.




The company is known for the controversial "United Colors" advertising campaigns, under the management of Oliveiro Toscani, its creative director and B's right hand.

Under his direction, ads were created which contained striking images unrelated to any actual product being sold by the company.

These billboard-sized advertisements included depictions of a variety of shocking subjects such as a deathbed scene of a man dying from Aids, a bloodied, unwashed newborn baby, two horses mating, close-up pictures of tatoos reading "HIV-positive", a nun and a priest about to engage in a romantic kiss, pictures of inmates on death row, a soldier killed in Bosnian war, situations of adversity, distress, sufferings, death and racism.

The company's logo served as the only text accompanying these images.




At the beginning at the 1990s, B changed the face of advertising forever. Instead of showing the company's products in its ads, they've chosen to show images related to important world issues in a claimed attempt to raise awareness and show the company's commitment to ethical values, respect for the environment and support of the human rights.




O Toscani asserts that's it's not his function to increase sales of B's products. He claims he uses advertising to raise awareness concerning global social issues, and his intention to "promote peace, tolerance, multiculturalism and to challenge stereotypes".

However, despite these claims, B's ads have been widely criticised and banned worldwide .







The text we have to comment on is an article published in the British quality newspaper, The Times, on February, the eighteenth, 2000.

It points to a controversial issue, namely emotional branding.




This article is illustrated by two pictures, actually billboard-sized advertisements by Benetton. These posters show close-ups on convicted murderers with the caption "sentenced to die".

These posters are part of B's global advertising campaign against death penalty.




The title "images with the power to shock" obviously refers to B's branding strategy, which consists in arousing people's emotions, shocking, provoking them, so as to create brand awareness (for consumers to remenber the brandname).




First and foremost, the journalist wonders whether this B advertising campaign is a civic commitment to a crucial social issue or simply an attempt to exploit people's emotions.

Anyway, whatever their goals, there's no denying that the campaign has raised much controversy.

Secondly, the journalist emphasizes the fact that campaigns are getting more and more complex.

Moreover, brands aim at creating brand awareness, . How? Some will develop a philosophy , an outlook on life with which customers will identify with , like , for example, Nike or Body Shop.

Through these examples, the journalist conveys the message that today marketing has become as important as the product itself. Why? What can account for this?

To answer this question, he comments on the evolution of products, brands and marketing.

In the post-wars decades, the compnies'goals were to improve the quality of their products, through own manufacturing techniques. The products were really different from one another and praising the their qualities was the best means of promoting them.

However, nowadays, because of sophisticated manufacturing techniques, no company can stand out thanks to the specificities of its products. Actually, they are all more or less the same.

Therefore, brands have to differenciate themselves differently, they have to look for another way of attracting the customer and making him loyal.

As a conclusion, today brands play on the customers'feelings and emotions in order to sell their products.




To put it in a nutshell, marketing strategies are a very crucial elements in the success of a brand, and B is a good example .

We must acknowledge that their advertisements enable the public to get conscious of burning social issues. Their involvement , their commitment is typical of a citizen company.

Nevertheless we mustn't be lured and remember that the company's first aim is to make profit, and so, sell their products.

That's why we could have mixed feelings about it: we may admire it but be distrustful at the same time.

Finally, we may ask ourselves this following question: Do we buy products, because they're good ones or because the marketing strategy is good?



Benetton's latest advertising campaign : unemployee of the year .


United Colors of Benetton has launched “Unemployee of the Year”, a a contest created for young people all over the world, aiming to award 100 projects proposed and voted by the online community. The project, promoted by the UNHATE Foundation, aims to spread a positive message of hope and celebrate young people’s ingenuity, creativity, and their ability to create new smart ways of addressing the problem of unemployment.


This film is an unfiltered portrayal of the everyday life of four young NEET's  We see how they fight to find a job while at the same time fighting for their dignity , against indifference and stigma .
Press meeting in London, September 2012


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Published by BTS MUC 1 du lycée Charles de Gaulle, Compiegne - dans Projets en anglais
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