Benetton Takes on Bruises – UPDATED

benettonDVad.jpg

Just got back home from the long weekend to see the Benetton advert above. It was in my inbox, posted at SAJA’s ad-savvy blog and mais oui, on our news tab, via an Anonymous Tipster who wrote:

Benetton’s Colors of Domestic Violence campaign features desi survivor? On the one hand, nice effort. On the other: color-coordinating the bruises with the sweaters? Tasteless.

I don’t know if the woman is a DV survivor or a model, but I think the image is opinion-provoking. I want to know how many of you agree with the nameless mutineer who had mixed feelings about the execution of a very important public service announcement. As a DV witness and survivor, I think anything which draws pain out in to the light where it can be confronted is a good thing.

Domestic violence is a concept in constant rotation on this blog; I can grimly recall how many of you have come forward to reveal in our comments section how you have experienced DV yourselves, either directly or indirectly. That’s not to say that this is a horror we brown have a monopoly on by any means; to that end, Benetton does have ads with other “bruised” women of various ethnicities, which you can see here.

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On a less serious tangent: how does this make you feel about Benetton? Positive, negative, no change? Is this just more un(desi)red P.R. stunting?

I’ve worn and loved them since back in the day (16 years!) so I’m a bit biased, especially since they make my current favorite little black dress (worn to the infamous man-harem meetup, no less), but I think that even if I didn’t already sweat those United Colors, I’d be positively disposed towards a brand which tried to address DV in such an unflinching fashion. What about you?

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THIS IS NOT A BENETTON AD CAMPAIGN! Not only did one of you direct us to a Salon blurb about this intriguing development, the original link submitted to our news tab had the following statement in its comments section:

Dear All,
this is NOT a United Colors of Benetton advertising campaign. Please don’t be deceived, see the official Benetton Group website www.benettongroup.com

Best regards,
Federico Sartor
Direttore Stampa e Comunicazione Istituzionale
Benetton Group
Tel. 39 0422 519036
Fax 39 0422 519930
www.benettongroup.com/press
www.benettonpress.mobi

Curiouser and curiouser…

121 thoughts on “Benetton Takes on Bruises – UPDATED

  1. Rahul, please stick around :) I had the same UCB/UCOB problem.

    If this ad is not connected to Benetton, then I actually like it more. Maybe because it is more inline with the link I posted at the beginning? It’s social commentary, which I like. I don’t know how I feel about companies using the same techniques to comment on things for profit, but I like when ad-buster types do it to raise social consciousness or make you feel uncomfortable.

    Weird how the difference in who created it changes how I feel about it so dramatically.

  2. Brownie

    You said you were in a situation….please check our http://www.maitri.org.

    There is a resource section on the left hand side which lists agencies in the US, Canada, the UK, and South Asia that can help you.

    Sonya

  3. an apt description:

    a hoax is often perpetrated as a practical joke, to cause embarrassment, or to provoke social change by making people aware of something
  4. Rahul: Folks, can you please use the term FOB ad, for Formerly Offensive Benetton ad? Or DBD is fine too, if you prefer Did Benetton Do this ad.
    NA: Not to drain all that pretty aquamarine water from your humor pool, Rahul, but wouldn’t it be FBO Ad, as the “Formerly” applies more closely to the “Benetton” part of the phrase?

    You must be one of those ABCDs, you know, that Accuracy before Convenience Demographic? Although, “Formerly, Offensive Benetton Ad” fits (not it’s just Offensive Ad, you see).

  5. NA#100: Benetton’s done edgier ad campaigns before, such as their own line of condoms

    That has to be a hoax for sure, they look like they’re both the same race! Even their horse ad promoted miscegenation.

  6. My previous comment was meant for HMF (whose commentary I appreciate)

  7. #104: Although, “Formerly, Offensive Benetton Ad” fits (not it’s just Offensive Ad, you see).

    That should read: Although, “Formerly, Offensive Benetton Ad” fits (NOW it’s just “Offensive Ad”, you see).

  8. Even their horse ad promoted miscegenation.

    It’s a commentary on Italian stallions. Rahul, you linked to the Slate article about the artist guy who made the ad. This ad and the guy’s book of poo looks to be another show of his narcissicism.

  9. I agree. I am just not cultured enough to get these ads. Some of them are pretty images, but they definitely don’t make me want to run to a store and get me one of their shirts (doesn’t inspire aversion in me either). Maybe if they put that horse picture on one of their shirts…

  10. ‘Raising Awareness’ is AS IMPORTANT as actual money.

    So my question is, who needs to be made aware of DV most, and what is the demographic that will actually see and pay attention to this ad?

  11. a hoax is often perpetrated as a practical joke, to cause embarrassment, or to provoke social change by making people aware of something

    Yeah, but if it’s a hoax, where’s the satirical aspect? I understand hoax’s must have verisimilitude in order to be convincing, but they are readily identifiable as hoaxes. If they were trying to mock benettons repeated attempts to “break the mold” and “raise awareness” they’d exaggerate it to an unreasonable extreme. For example, having bruised teddy bears wearing benneton clothes and fake bruises, then call it “Stop Plush Animal Violence” or something like that. That’s satirical.

  12. Maybe if they put that horse picture on one of their shirts…

    That way everyone can be evocative. Now that’s art for the people, yo!

    I meant to link to the urban dictionary for the def. of “Italian stallion”, but I’m now thinking it’s well known what that phrase means.

  13. “Stop Plush Animal Violence” or something like that. That’s satirical

    It wouldn’t be as effective, in other words it wouldn’t have been a post on SM if it had been even brown teddies.

    You said it exactly, it can be seen as commentary about the fashion company’s use of provocative images to sell clothes (ugly sweaters and the like) and it’s possibly asking Benetton if that’s how far they’ll go to sell clothes, under the guise of creating awareness.

  14. You said it exactly, it can be seen as commentary about the fashion company’s use of provocative images to sell clothes (ugly sweaters and the like) and it’s possibly asking Benetton if that’s how far they’ll go to sell clothes, under the guise of creating awareness.

    But we know Benetton will go this far, even farther. In fact, there are people on this board vehemently defending them. The Banksy thing is an example of satire.. no one would ever mistake those for actual paris hilton songs, rather the implied meaning in the act is, “These aren’t really paris hilton songs, but in essence she’s doing the same thing” And I think that message is clear. But with these ads, it’s not clear, as all of us believed them as true ads.

    Honestly if Benetton does denounce these ads, I don’t see how they can do it on the grounds of “poor taste” when they’ve done similar, if not more intense ones themselves. If anything, it’s a denouncement from a point of regret. As in, “Damn it, we should have thought of that!”

    It’s kind of like when the Onion published an article about Gilette razors, titled, “Fuck it, we’re doing five blades”.. the story was hysterical, until Gilette actually did release a 5 blade razor. It was no longer funny, it was reporting. It was more of a surprise reaction rather than funny.

  15. Im a college student,17 years old. i was reading about the benetton campaign in my italian lesson,and i have to writte my opinion about what Toscani has created by displaying this images as a bublicity campaign, and personally i am disgusted. I dont see how using tragedies such as this can be accepted to sell products which, rumours say,are involved in child labour etc. I dont think this is a good way of making people realise of the problems that surround them,i dont buy benetton’s clothes and this just makes me want to buy them even less. I think the marketing group at Benetton should stick to their old pictures, where you see the bright side of life, and leave the horrors to the politics and the news presentors,because at the moment we have enough to worry about, apart from another massive business taking advantages of the daily problems that society confronts. Horrors like this should be taken into account and helped by people arround the world,instead of being an excuse to buy expensive clothes.

  16. I dont understand how the colors of the cloths are offence to people at all. It draws the picture together and emphasizes the point, the severity of DV.