Monday, 29 June 2009

90's Benetton

Who remembers United Colours of Benetton's contoversial assault on the advertising world in the early 90's? Not that easy to forget. The images were devised by photographer Oliver Toscani and had nothing to do with any products sold by Benetton. They confronted topics such as race, polictics, social issues and sexuality.

Here's a selection from 1989 to 1997....














All are out to shock but this is one of the most controversial. The image shows AIDS activist David Kirby dying from AIDS surrounded by his family.


These set of images offended most but were appretiated by many. Raising issues or tasteless advertsing? Its your call.


RETCH. said...

Rah. the pics are somewhat epic though. All controversies aside.

Anonymous said...

not tastless at all. inspirational.

Lo said...

i'll second that

The Colour Technician said...

Great post Ollie.
I had a seminar based on these Benetton advertisement, and as much as I agree that these images are somewhat affective and have some sort of persuasive power, I and a few others were the only ones who thought it as a publicity stunt that Benetton were trying to do this to gain financial profit and raise the roof on trying to be 'controversial'.
Big up to them regardless, but in my opinion, they used this campaign for reasons only for themselves.
My opinion only.
One campaign always to remember.

just_trav said...

That last image is horrible. But there in that lies the whole idea. all thsi stuff is going on everyday, shocking when we open our eyes to it. The condom one is actually quite chilla though. would make a nice tshirt

Tickle said...

love this stuff, i was going to stick some COLOURS stuff up. Awesome.

Anonymous said...


Jeff said...

That's some next level analysis right there from the colour technician. Who would have thought that an advertising campaign was designed to increase publicity and profit? Fucking deep insight, kid.

The Colour Technician said...

Yeah this campaign makes me vex. Looking from both perspectives. Consumer and distributor.

d.o.k said...

amazing, real ish*

misterlego said...

post was alot misterdanger

Anonymous said...

Jeff i dont think you understood.

the colour technician didnt dispute that the ads were to raise publicitiy, but the subject matter of the adverts have distinct political views,she's saying that it sucks that benneton have undermined the political views because they did it for publicity for their business - and not the ideas in themselves

using the political ideas for self gains devalues the powerful ideas behind the pictures which in turn annoyed her

i think the images are mad good but like the colour technician, i wish they had a bit more depth instead of simply being a passionless tool for making money

dont like that the end purpose of the ads is capitalist orientated; the means to which a lot of racism in the west was institutionalized

Anonymous said...

I think Jeff was being sarcastic. Like "No shit sherlock!" The purpose of ALL advertising campaigns is to raise publicity and drive profit. Thats not opinion, its a fact and whoever didn't agree with you Colour technician, is s simpleton!

The Colour Technician said...

Thats 97% of my class then! Muahahaha!

Josephine said...

i never really understood where they were going with some (not all) of those images, specifically the one with the black and white kids which merely presents a pretty horrific racial stereotype without challenging it in any way, and the one of the black woman nursing the white child which would clearly offend some because of the obvious links to slavery when black enslaved women were forced to nurse the white children of their 'owners'.

in some of the images, benetton appear to be challenging stereotypes, in others they are just perpetuating them. that never really made sense to me when i saw them the first time and still doesn't now to be honest.

jks said...

Nah, I think Benetton stand for more than just raising the roof on being controversial. You can't say this was a pure publicity stunt. What kind of idiot would use a picture of an AIDs victim dying as a sole way to reel in the cash for their brand?

The people in charge here released these campaigns as ways to show the consumer what attitudes and values the brand carries with it. They obviously care about these issues and want to use their power as a successful brand to get a message to the world. They were not using the controversial ideas for self gain, and they were in no way devalued. It is a way of conveying the Benetton lifestyle - anti racism, anti sexism, raising AIDs awareness, opening your eyes to the world.
For sure Benetton were trying to raise financial profit here,obviously a bit, but not entirely. Nu-uh.

Beefcake said...

big post mate


research Reptilian brain. Advertisers specifically targat the side of your brain that acts on emotions. Advertisers know everything about your brain which enslaves the viewer without their conscious knowledge. Postive/Negative you will react based on emotions hence why sex sells, violence sells ect. Splendid post man, I dug the posts by Tickle previously. Peace

Charan kamal said...

Good post there ollie.

Anonymous said...

as a child i was extremly disappointed when i found out that UCOB was nothing but a (lameass) clothing brand - i always thought them to be some kind of greenpeace-activists... :(