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.

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