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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tibetan theme in new Benetton ad

August 17, 2008

Sanjeev Choudhary & Ratna Bhushan, ET Bureau
The Economic Times (India)
August 14, 2008

NEW DELHI -- Famous for shocking people and even hurting the
sensibilities of some social groups in the process, Italian fashion
group Benetton now seems to be changing its advertising pitch to
reach out to consumers.

In its print campaign just released at the Beijing Olympics, Benetton
shows a Buddhist monk from Tibet and a Chinese soldier praying in
front of each other, under the word "victims" printed in black. The
"victims" in the ad are believed to be the thousands of people who
died in the earthquake which hit a Chinese province a few months back.

While the ad is open to interpretation, going by Benetton's past
record, the Olympics campaign seems far moderate in its approach. The
Italian clothier's campaigns in the past have touched several raw
nerves, hurt religious sensibilities and even pushed political agenda
in some cases. In fact, all the campaigns of United Colors of
Benetton have packed so much shock value and created so many global
controversies that the brand started getting referred to as United
Colors of Controversies.

Says O&M executive chairman and NCD Piyush Pandey: "The relevance of
shock-advertising is important—if it makes a relevant point to a
specific community, it works.

But shocking for the sake of shocking is always dangerous." However,
the subject chosen for the campaign is open to various
interpretations. Says JWT managing partner Rohit Ohri: "The campaign
is very provocative in classic Benetton style. The issue they have
chosen to highlight is a raging global debate."
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