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Related: fashion - Italy - succès de scandale - controversial - advertising

Benetton advertisment - autumn/winter 1991/1992

One of the most notorious examples of a succès de scandale in the late 20th century was the publicity campaign by Benetton. They caused a scandal with controversial photographs of people dying of AIDS that were used to promote colourful Italian clothing.


Benetton is a global upmarket clothing brand, based in Treviso, Italy, also well known for its sponsorship of the Formula One team of the same name and high-profile European basketball and rugby clubs.

Benetton is known in the United States for producing a long-running series of controversial, sometimes offensive, advertisements that have caused a number of media critics to accuse the company of deliberately creating controversy in order to sell its products. This publicity campaign originated when photographer Oliviero Toscani was given carte blanche by the Benetton managment. The ads entitled "United Colors of Benetton," have included images that are apparently unrelated to the clothes sold by the company, including scenes of people dying of AIDS, panicking crowds jumping off of a sinking ship, a bloody, unwashed newborn baby, and a death row inmate. The only caption included in these pictures is the Benetton logo.

The name of the brand comes from the Benetton family, and in particlar from Sen. Luciano Benetton who founded it. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benetton [Nov 2004]

Oliviero Toscani

Oliviero Toscani is known worldwide as the photographer who designed controversial advertising campaigns for Italian brand Benetton during the nineties. Most of this advertising campaigns were actually institutionals for the brand, always composed of a rather controversial photography, usually with only the company logo as caption.

One of his most famous campaigns include one of a man dying of AIDS, lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by his grieving relatives. Others include allusions to racism (notably one with three almost identical human hearts, with the words "white", "black", and "yellow" as captions), war, religion and even capital punishment. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliviero_Toscani [Nov 2004]

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