The Benetton Group Essay

This essay has a total of 1044 words and 5 pages.

The Benetton Group



The Benetton Group
The Controversy Continues

Problem Identification
Benetton, the world famous clothing producer, once again dives into social issues that the
United States may not be ready for. The Italy based group is well known for their
shocking world issue advertisements that only bear the company logo. In fact, Benetton’s
advertisements traditionally do not feature the clothes it sells; only the issues play the
lead role. After years of controversy over ads such as AIDS, war, interracial
relationships, and priests kissing nuns, it may be time for Benetton to campaign about
something other than controversial social issues, like clothes.

On January 1, 2000, Benetton’s new advertising campaign wasn’t about sweaters or pants,
but about convicted murderers that are on death row. The “death row” ads feature
portraits of American death row inmates in prison uniforms with the slogan “Sentenced to
Death”. The ads give the inmate’s name, date of birth, crime, and expected method of
execution. Within the campaign, inmates also talk about topics ranging from their
childhood to their dreams, everything except their victims. According to CNN, victims’
rights advocates are outraged as well as are the individuals that lost loved ones to the
profiled inmates.

Once again, Benetton is faced with another controversy that could perhaps worsen their
already poor US market share. According to the New York Stock Exchange, where The
Benetton Group is publicly traded, it seems that the company has lost over ten dollars per
share since their peak of 50 15/16 in January. This decrease could be attributed to many
things, but perhaps the most significant was the February announcement that Sears would
immediately pull Benetton designed clothes from all 400 of its stores that had been
selling the Benetton USA line. The Benetton USA line was specifically designed for Sears
when the two companies joined last summer to introduce a new line of juniors, kids, and
men’s apparel. Troubled by the campaign, Sears renegotiated its contract with Benetton to
gain the right to preview future Benetton ad campaigns. A revised clause in the contract
also gave Sears the ability to withdraw from the deal without penalty if the two parties
were unable to agree on future campaigns, according to CNN. Regardless of these changes,
the controversy was too significant for Sears to ignore due to the hundreds of consumer
complaints that poured into the store after the campaign released. According to the
February 21, 2000 article in Advertising Age, a Sears spokesman said the chain allied
itself with Benetton because “We thought they were past that and had come to a point where
they were interested in selling merchandise. The whole episode is tragic, for the
victims, for Sears and for Benetton.”

However, Sears is not the only one taking action against the company. According to CNN,
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