Thursday, June 26, 2008

Leilani : Olivero Toscani

Depending on whom you ask, Toscani’s odd fusion of commentary and commerce is either a clever form of social activism or blatant moral hypocrisy — arresting contemporary art as easy exploitation.

And as the "quirky", in-house creative director for the Benetton Group, Olivero Toscani has shattered every conventionally held idea regarding the role of advertising. Toscani was hired by Luciano Benetton to exclusively head the company's advertising campaign. Not an easy task. With over 7,000 Benetton stores in over 120 countries and meet an extremely specific communication goal: to produce international campaigns of global concern for global consumers. Thus, Toscani’s campaigns are international, homogeneous and characterized by universal themes. According to Benetton, the advertising has become "not only a means of communication but an expression of our time."

Welcome to Toscani's world.

Toscani's early work presented youthful images from culturally diverse nations. Colourfully dressed in Benetton attire, engaged in a variety of playful acts. By linking the varying colours in the collection to the diverse "colours" of its world customers, Toscani presented a theme of racial harmony and world peace. From these ads grew the inspirational trademark still used today: "United Colours of Benetton."

Toscani assumed a strategy in which social issues played the major role - allowing for a communication on themes relevant to everyone, everywhere. A means to draw attention to important social problems, in an attempt to promote a discussion about issues which people would normally glide over if they approached them from other channels, issues they feel should be more widely talked about.,8599,1673663,00.htm

Monday, June 23, 2008

LEE: Benetton

The united colors of Benetton is a successful clothing company that focuses not on plain old fashion but tries to connect with the buyer with the same mindset about their common morals and social values. By promoting their products in this way Benetton’s clothing has caused much controversy is nations around the globe, due to its blunt approach to taboo advertising.

The brand developed into the “united colors of Benetton” based on the colours of the youths around the world that the youths were designed for and began to promote things like world peace and racial equality etc.

When I first heard about the “united colors of Benetton” I thought it was some form of united racial movement charity group of sorts based on the pictures I had seen, but when I found out it was actually a clothing brand I became rather sceptical and began to think, while yes I am sure the Benetton’s care about all the stuff they promote, it could just be a way of getting all the “hippies” or “activists” to buy their products because they think it will in some way help the people in need.

Google image search for united colors of benetton


Saturday, June 21, 2008

GEMMA: United Colours of Benetton

Oliveri Toscani and 'United Colours of Benetton' have a long history of attention to ethical values and involvement in social and cultural initiatives. Perhaps the most visible are their institutional campaigns, touching social themes of wide international significance and often in cooperation with renowned international organisations.

This statement, in a way, sums up the way in which Oliveri Toscani and 'United Colours of Benetton' market their fashion and brand to the public. The core business of the company remains in their clothing lines of which they market casual clothing marketed as the "United Colors of Benetton." Additional to this there are also three other divisions of clothing titled “Sisley” (fashion-oriented), "Playlife" (leisurewear), and "Killer Loop" (street wear.) Their products are made to suit the entire community needs, targeting all women’s wear, menswear, children’s wear and underwear.

The company is known for sponsorship of a number of sports, and for the controversial "United Colors" publicity campaign. When photographer Oliviero Toscani was hired by the Benetton team, under his direction, ads were created that contained striking images unrelated to any actual products being sold by the company. These graphic, billboard sized ads included depictions of a variety of 'shocking' subjects. The company's logo served as the only text accompanying the images in most of these advertisements.

The company suggested that they “decided to do something very controversial that people would pick up on - 50% of people thought it was great and 50% thought it was awful, but in the meantime everyone was talking about Benetton." Due to this, Benetton has faced criticism from many organizations.

Benetton Group's advertising campaigns are not only a means of communication but an expression of our time. Through their universal impact, they have succeeded in attracting the attention of the public and in standing out amongst the current clutter of images.Although their newfound ideas of advertisement have been ridiculed, the campaigns have also gathered awards worldwide. They create strong reactions which are often either brutal or simply curious, confirming once again that they are always a central focal point of debate and of confrontation of ideas.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Kurt-Oliveri Toscani-Benetton

The advertising philosophy of United Colors of Benetton is based on Luciano Benetton's belief that 'communication should not be commissioned from outside the company, but conceived from within its heart.'

The Advertising Campaigns produced by Benetton are controversial, there’s no denying it. I think this full in your face no bullshit photography from Oliver Toscani is an absolutely brilliant tool for communicating so many social and dramatic humanistic issues.
The whole association with value is so strong they are able to tie so many different themes and events into their campaign that is a remarkable marketing strategy.

People are shocked by what they are seeing in the images but at the same time have an immediate connection to what is portrait in the photos.

“Free speech and the right to express it” In the Feb 92 campaign the communication of Benetton raized much controversy and created a global scandal.
The images of a man dying of aids, a soldier gripping a human thigh bone, a man assassinated by the mafia, a car on fire, and a ship being stormed by immigrants.

All these photos were not taken for the advertising campaign but where rather subjects of the real world used for conveying the news.
It raized questions as to weather advertising and marketing for a product should actually focus on subjects other than the companys product?

But in saying this where is the rule book to say or display the guide lines to Advertising?


ALEC - Toscani and his visual army

Oliviero Toscani and Benetton

“We decided to do something controversial that people would pick up on.”

In 1984 United Colours of Benetton contracted Oliviero Toscani to head their international advertising campaign. It was to be one of the most infamous and controversial partnerships within advertising. Benetton was always an ethically forward company but nothing could prepare the public for the onslaught of confronting imagery and humanitarian ideals. Through his billboards and magazine advertisements, Toscani explored the relationships between black and white roles in society,

gay stereotypes,

religious taboos

as well as the fragility of the environment.

Reactions to these images were mixed; many people did not know how to react even thought these were real life people in real life situations. I find it hard to fathom how we can view ads containing models in unrealistic situations with unrealistically good looking bodies photographed at unrealistic angles as the norm where as a simple front on shot of a baby post-birth can seem so out there and cause so much public outcry when it is pretty much the most natural experience on earth.

His images captured life not an emulation of it.

I don’t think Toscani initiative was to create a safe/warm fuzzy reaction within people, just a reaction. He wanted people to stop and take notice. Some argue that it was out of context for a clothing company to portray these confronting images but it is when something is taken out of its original context that people take the most notice. The public had soon had enough and in the interest of company longevity Toscani resigned. My sentiment goes out to Toscani who had the courage and talent to make the world take notice.


Jamie: Colors of Benetton

Oliviero Toscani and the United Colors of Benetton:
Oliviero, Italian born photographer, worked with Benetton for the good part of 18 years, to help portray the messages behind the brand. Benett
on is a well established brand that began in the late 1960’s. Oliviero helped with the advertisement of the brand with its rather controversial images. The images portrayed by both Benetton and Oliviero have delved into hot topics about race, disease and human rights.

One of the more controversial of their images was the photograph of the scene of the AIDS patient David Kirby last moments, surrounded by his family members. This photo was actually taken by Therese Frare, though he was working with Oliviero on the Benetton AIDS campaign. This image raised a lot of tension with many groups, this included the catholic society, claiming that the image related too heavily to the image of Jesus, also the advertisement raised tension with the AIDS activists, saying that it portrayed AIDS victims in a negative way.

As like many more adds by the pair, Benetton and Toscani, their themes seem shocking though needed as they are eye opening to certain problems by bringing them into the light. Benetton has helped pave the way in opening its audiences eyes to the shocking themes at hand that the modern day society seem to sweep under the mat. Their adds are fantastic at capturing the emotion, as well as the added hint of a shock value; Benetton and Oliviero have helped raise awareness to many intense issues through
 their images, and continue to do so today.

Benetton and Controversy - Tane

For over 20 years, one company has continually cashed in on the marketing miracle that is controversy.
Benetton has succeeded in freeing the product from its merchandising reality and given it a whole new social being of its own.
Benetton reaches its consumers not by target markets but by shared visions of morals stemming from common social values.
In this way, Benetton’s advertising campaigns have been so blunt and forthcoming in taboo issues that they have sparked outrage and interest across nations.

Since its origin as a fashion label for the young, Benetton has quickly come to realize that putting resources into brand image is a good strategic investment.
The “united” colors of its sweaters soon became a metaphor for the united skin colours of the youth from many different countries for whom the sweaters were designed. The United Colors concept spread from encompassing the different races to the ideas of tolerance, peace and respect for diversity.

The reaction to some of the more shocking images was sometimes violent. Many publications refused to print the ads. By violating the taboo of disagreeable themes and abandoning the false, comfortable world of advertising stereotypes, Benetton cracked the foundation that held up culture, language and advertising expectations.
Some groups were tolerating and encouraging of Benetton’s move to raise awareness about AIDS, war, racism etc. but they found it wholly unacceptable that the move was also a source of income for a corporation. The profits were seen as turning protest into skepticism, public message into cynicism. Lah de dah.

I believe Benetton has found the best niche in the business and exploited it shamelessly. From a business point of view, this is advertising nirvana because controversial images are cycled around tabloids and news programs are unwittingly promoting and mentioning the Benetton name.
However, I also feel a degree of skepticism owing to the fact that it’s a FREAKIN’ CLOTHING COMPANY, and if they really wanted to do something about world hunger, donate and go not-for-profit! Otherwise, we’re all perfectly aware that you’re making dosh off the worst form of brand image scamming known to man, Benetton. You know it, we know it, but hey, good on you for shaking foundations and making some conservative minds break under the pressure. At the end of the day, you are raising issues, making good money and freaking someone out!
LINKS…. 98_fall/theory/blouin/toscani/toscani.html

Leilani - Graffiti; Art or Vandalism?

"Graffiti is revolutionary…. and any revolution might be considered a crime. People who are oppressed or suppressed need an outlet, so they write on walls—it’s free."

Graffiti advocates perceive graffiti as a method of reclaiming public space or to display one's art form, their opponents regard it as an unwanted nuisance. Graffiti has often had a reputation as being part of a subculture that rebels against authority, and thus, graffiti artists are presumed to be vandals and law-breakers. And yet, in times of conflict, such murals offer a means of communication and self-expression for members of these socially, ethnically and/or racially divided communities.

The stenciled image of the squatting man holding a sign that reads: "Keep your coins, I WANT CHANGE," speaks directly to the surge in street art across the globe. In a time when large institutions get larger and often hem in the ability for individuals to make themselves heard, the streets serve as invitingly blank canvases that anyone with some paint and a message has access to.

But at what cost? Secrecy and speed are the Graffiti Artists favored arsenal in avoiding the penance of expressing themselves. Jail.

However, many contemporary analysts and even art critics have begun to see artistic value in graffiti and to recognize for what it is - public art. According to many art researchers, graffiti is actually an effective tool for social emancipation or in the achievement of a political goal.


Graffiti – art or vandalism? It all depends on which side of the wall your standing on



                 They were the first years Ninety when children wound in the placenta or the Sicilian women folded up by the pain of forehead to a homicide of mafia of the photographer of the Benetton flattened the road to the many television shocking spots in circulation of these times.  

The experiment worked, and now it works ,demonstrating  that the publicity can still be read also as form of communication turned to the collectivity. Choosing to treat social problems, with its campaigns  raw and direct Toscani  literally interprets the social mission of the advertising practice replacing with the perfect family of the Mulino bianco (Mill White – stereotype of a classic happy family that you see onTV advertising) kisses stolen between priests and nuns or scenes of homosexual love.  

The countries of the Benetton overturn in this way the approach of the traditional advertising agency, that prefers to propose incapable reassuring and easy-going visions of the reality to arouse questions on the great social problems in the viewers. Un incorrect routine ,says Toscani, that in its photos ago of the violence and of the contradictions of the mafia, as of the war and of the death penalty, an occasion of report, turning them into uncomfortable images, able to let the people to reflect. 

The countries of communication of the Group Benetton they represent only not a mean of communication but an expression of our time. They have succeeded, thanks to an universal strength, to attract the attention of the public also distinguishing in the actual universe of images. 

they have picked up all over the world prizes and consents and at the same time they have aroused reactions, at times fierce, at times simply curious, confirming himself, however, always protagonists, elements of debate and comparison of the ideas.  

To you the judgment bloggers... better staying to reflect before to a publicity shock or better criticizing it and to entrench it behind false moralisms?????                   


toscani says:  "unlike traditional advertisements, our images
                                   usually have no copy and not product, only our logo.  They
                                   do not tell anyone to buy our clothes, they do not even imply it.
                                   All they attempt to do is promote a discussion about issues
                                   which people would normally glide over if they approached
                                   them from other channels, issues we feel should be more
                                   widely discussed."  Hence, advertising that speaks across all cultural
                                   boundaries and raises social awareness by presenting powerful
                                   human and universal themes.





Abby - Oliviero Toscani

Oliviero Toscani

In 1984 The United Colours of Benetton hired the famour photographer Oliviero Toscani to head the company's advertising campaign. He had to produce international campaigns of global concern for global consumers. One of the campaigns was for anorexia and the poster below shows a graphic image of an anorexic woman. She looks as if she is starving and moving towards death. This is not the usual photo of thin women used in advertising campaigns looking beautiful to sell products.

Toscani took many photos of black and white people together. This photo below shows an angelic photo of a white girl with a black girl whose hair could be seen as styled as the devil’s horns. He is commenting on how we see black and white people differently, with the world being given a negative image of blacks.

People may be shocked by the photo of a white baby breastfeeding from a black mother as this is not often seen. He is again highlighting the separateness of blacks and whites with blacks having a bad reputation. 

Toscani was interested in environmental issues and this waterbird below is covered in oil and looks very sad. It is a strong image giving out an environmental message that death is the result of our pollution. He believed that when you take an image that would be normal in a news report and use it in advertising it would shock and disgust people into taking action.

This man was to be executed and has had his photo taken by Toscani as part of a anti-death penalty campaign. Using this photo in advertising was too much for the company as American public thought that glorifying a murderer was socially inappropriate. Toscani no longer worked for Benetton after the public outcry from this campaign.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Govinda Benetton and Oliveri Toscani

The famous collaboration between Oliveri Toscani, a photographer, and United Colours of Benetton, an international clothing company, has been very successful in the promotion and expansion of the brand. Much controversy was created with the 1986 advertising campaign that used strong and confrontation images based on taboos, the notion of co-existence and exploring difference and stereotypes in race, nationality and religion. Oliveri Toscani and Benetton continued to explore social issues with more and more shocking and confrontational images and campaigns.The plan by Benetton was to integrate opposites and to unite difference under a single flag, that of its own logo. But the plan often backfired causing international outrage. Protests broke out after the photograph of a newborn baby still attached to the umbilical cord was used, resulting in the advertisement being removed from many countries. The response to Benetton’s advertisements was mixed. Many people where outraged while others supported the companies bold approach.United Colours of Benetton declared that the advertisements where to make people think. Although the idea behind the campaign to promote social issues was good, I don’t believe it was necessarily appropriate for a company selling clothing. People did not want to open a fashion magazine and see a photograph of a man dying of AIDS.

Many people believed it was immoral for the company to use these sensitive images to promote jumpers and scarves. The campaigns came to a stop when Oliveri Toscani resigned after the Sentenced to Death initiative about killers on death row caused enormous outrage in the United States.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Josh - Toscani

Olivero Toscani, creative director for the Benetton Group, has shattered every conventionally held idea regarding the role of advertising. Already an award-winning photographer, Toscani was hired in 1984 by Luciano Benetton to exclusively head the company's advertising campaign.

After hours or research on Toscani and Benetton I found a series of quotes, which I think best descried himself as a thinker, creator, photographer and advertiser.

"advertising is the richest and most powerful form of communication in the world. We need to have images that will make people think and discuss."

"ad agencies are obsolete. They're out of touch with the times; they're far too comfortable. When the client is happy, they stop trying. They don't want to know what's going on in the world. They create a false reality and want people to believe in it. We show reality and we're criticized for it."

"research? we try to do the very opposite. We try to make our ads personal. If you do research, you get yesterday's results. If they did research five hundred years ago, they never would have discovered America. They would have found out the world is flat. You have to have the courage to make mistakes. Everything we do is about impulse, about guts. That's what built Benetton."

By linking the varying colors in the Benetton collection to the diverse "colors" of its world customers it came up with "United Colors of Benetton" which became the very successful tradmark.A very successful part of the Benetton Group is they don’t tell anyone to buy the clothes, instead they attempt to promote a discussion about issues which people would normally glide over. Including a dark mother breastfeeding a white baby. This caused controversy in America due to historical connotations of slavery and racism. He went on to use Aids, new life, gleefulness, and a fake Jesus to give his advertising the edge that Benetton become well known for.