Benetton Promotional Campaigns - Are they Ethical?*



Mini Case Code : CLIM031
Publication date : 2005
Subject : International Marketing
Industry : Clothing and Accessories
Length : 05 Pages
Price : Rs. 100

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Key words:

Benetton Group S.p.A (Benetton), clothing company, promotional campaigns, advertising, social responsibility, ad campaign, advertisements, social causes, controversial ad campaigns


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The advertising strategy followed by Benetton, a leading Italian clothing company, notorious for its controversial advertising campaigns, forms the focus of this caselet. The caselet examines the various communication strategies taken up by the company in the guise of social responsibility measures and attempts to analyze the unethical practices that Benetton followed in its promotional activities.


» Controversial advertising campaigns and promotional campaigns
» Social responsibility - just another way to promote products
» Benetton and social responsibility
» Ethical issues related to Benetton promotional campaigns


Benetton Group S.p.A (Benetton), a leading Italian clothing company, is famous, or rather, infamous for its outrageous promotional campaigns. Benetton was founded by the brothers Luciano Benetton, Gilberto Benetton, Carlo Benetton, and their sister Giuliana Benetton in Ponzano Veneto, Italy in 1965.

The Benetton family initially designed and sold knitwear and gradually diversified into various businesses. As of 2004, Benetton’s businesses included casual wear, sports wear, and footwear for women, men, and children. It also sold accessories, kitchen accessories, baby products, watches, perfumes, etc...

Questions for Discussion:

1. Was Benetton right in depicting controversial ad campaigns for social causes? Justify your stand.

2. Benetton was active in taking up social responsibility. However, the company refused to adhere to requests made by PETA to boycott Australian wool. Comment on the company's ethical practices.