Benetton: the creativity, the controversy and the reality that we try to avoid.

Benetton has managed to convey through images, what many others didn’t transmit through an entire collection of printed books. Simple images, but full of meaning. Benetton’s strategy was to sell values. They haven’t been afraid to take risks, they put everything on the tray.

Benetton campaigns have remained the most controversial in the history of advertising and PR. They influenced attitudes, mentalities, and decisions. Who was the mastermind behind these campaigns? Oliviero Toscani.

I personally am tired of advertising campaigns in which appears the product and the price, they look like they were hanged on the fence. In addition, most of the time, agencies will promote a more improved image, far from the truth.

I always liked creative campaigns that tell more than the benefits of a product and expresses more about the reality in which we live. Toscani did this and created a lot of controversy and criticism.

Short story about the great brand

Like the finest success stories, the story of Benetton has a humble beginning. Benetton is a company that has its roots in Italy. It all started back when Luciano used to help his sister sell the sweaters knitted by herself. Because Luciano got tired of working in a fabric store, he made a radical decision, to open his own business, together with his sister. As you guessed, they initially sold only sweaters.

Luciano Benetton is said to have had an extraordinary ability to sense market needs, he always adapted his business according to them.

A great initiative was the creation of a branch called “Fabrica”, a center for communication and research for Benetton. It’s the place where the best artists in the world were brought and invited to develop communication projects, to transmit culture through intelligent design, music, cinema, publishing and social media.



“Colors ” is one of the editorials, which aims to express the fact that diversity is a positive thing. And the main mode of expression is photography.

Toscani, through his campaigns, tried to bring to light images of reality, which we try to avoid. He basically put the reality in front of our face, forced us to look at it and to accept it.  



I believe these are the most successful campaigns of Benetton.  The creativity is so great that you can understand everything, just by looking at the pictures.

Campaigns against racism

The company has focused heavily on the issue of racism in its campaigns and each time has stirred much controversy.

Race issues tend to fade, without being completely eliminated.

The photo with the black woman feeding a white child is the most awarded in the history of Benetton advertising.



I personally love a lot this photo, with the three hearts, which express that regardless of race, we are all humans and we should be equal. When you look at the hearts, you don’t see any difference between them. This is how it should be.


Campaigns against war

For a campaign dedicated to peace was chosen as a symbol a pair of pants and a shirt, both stained with blood, which belonged to a soldier killed in the war in Yugoslavia. The image contains an impressive message, but which had not been translated in Benetton campaigns.

It is a note sent along with the clothes, by the father of the soldier who wore the clothes.

 I, Gojko Gagro, father of the deceased Marinko Gagro, born in 1963 at Blizanci in the province of Citluk, would like my son’s name and all that remains of him be used in the name of peace and against war.

Campaigns against AIDS

When the campaign against AIDS was first launched, at the same time, condoms were distributed in Benetton stores, to announce the launch of the campaign.

The photo shocked the world. People were not ready for a free expression regarding condom use. Toscani managed to break the wall-taboo created around condoms.

The usage of different colors supports the diversity of the human races. And at the same time, the fact that they are multi colored have a humorous touch.


Humanitarian campaigns

Through the Food for Life campaign, the company draws attention to hunger through a global communication campaign. It is a struggle against hunger, while public opinion and mass media are accused of being silent about a real problem.

This is a picture that promotes the feeding program in schools.



What is your opinion about these images? Do you feel intrigued? Do you like them as much as I do?


Images credit: United Colors of Benetton. 🙂

Facebook Comments