Benetton’s Corporate Image

Janice Ellinwood
Revised by: Nancy J. Rabolt , Judy K. Miler

Business Case
Source: Bloomsbury Fashion Business Cases
DOI: 10.5040/9781474208796.0047
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The Italian apparel manufacturing firm Benetton, which owns numerous international licensed apparel brand stores, has gained attention and opposition for the company’s style of corporate advertising. Eighteen years ago, Benetton’s advertising campaigns featured advertisements that made controversial visual comments on political and social matters, rather than merchandise or written copy. This style caused a backlash of negative publicity and opposition, even lawsuits and threats to the company and corporate families. Oliviero Toscani, the advertising campaign director associated with many of the controversial campaigns, left Benetton in 2000. Although the financial health of the company has encountered periods of hardship during this time, with business even being lost in some countries, the overall net earnings of the company have increased. In 2018, Benetton brought back the controversial advertising director who showed his first product campaign that seemed bright and upbeat, but still with a humanitarian slant. This same year, however, another advertising campaign using a charity’s unauthorized photographs met with negative reception, offense, and backlash from the public. Should Benetton change their advertising style and thus their corporate image, or modify their advertising personnel?

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