The Story Of Benetton's Advertisement Campaigns

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG019
Case Length : 7 Pages
Period : 2000-2001
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Benetton
Industry : Merchandising
Countries : India

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"Benetton is used to unfavorable publicity."

- An article in The New Statesman, January 24, 2000.

A Campaign In Trouble

In January 2000, the United Colors of Benetton (Benetton), Europe's largest clothing manufacturer, released its 'death-row' advertisement campaign featuring prisoners who had been sentenced to death. The campaign appeared on billboards and in major news publications in Europe, America and Asia. Benetton had worked for two years on the campaign, for which a special booklet and video were also released.

Benetton claimed that leaving aside any social, political, judicial or moral consideration, the campaign aimed at showing the public the reality and futility of capital punishment.

Marketing Management Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing Management, Case Studies

The campaign resulted in widespread protests against the company from the customers as well as a number of governments. The families of the victims (whom the death row inmates were convicted of having killed) objected strongly to the campaign. The state of Missouri in the US decided to sue Benetton, claiming that the company had deceived the state by using the death row inmates as part of an advertising campaign.

(Benetton was reported to have falsely told the state that the inmates were being interviewed for a project sponsored by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.) In an out of court settlement, Benetton had to write apology letters to the families of the victims. Benetton was also ordered to pay $ 50,000 to the Missouri Crime Victims Fund. Benetton expected the protests against this campaign to die down, as they had for its earlier campaigns. However, public opposition in the US intensified further. The biggest setback for Benetton came in the form of the cancellation of its deal with the US retailing major Sears, Roebuck & Co. to open Benetton outlets in Sears stores across the US...

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