In order for a many to succeed, it is almost necessary for them to advertise their product. Now the question of how advertising came to be and the evolution of its purposes arises. Though it would be quite impossible to give any exact idea as to the period when the first advertisement Of any kind made its first appearance, there is no doubt of advertising first occurring in the earliest times. The true history’ of advertising dates back to the remotest possible times, when an increasing population led every man to make efforts in the race for prominence, which has continued on in some way or another ever since.
At that time, however, advertisements were merely scratches on walls, with the occasional clay bricks stencil with inscriptions by the Babylonians. Advertisements during the middle Ages consisted of town criers shouting what the king wanted to be heard, because so few people were literate (Sampson, 86). Although advertising can be traced back this far, the most significant and true development in the early history of advertising was the invention of movable type in 1440 by Johann Gutenberg. This led to the printing of newspapers, handbills, and other publications from which inevitably rose advertising, as we know it today (Cohen, p. ). To put it simply, advertising serves as an aid to companies that provide goods or services (or both), to sell whatever it is they have to offer. Most advertisements are often criticized for encouraging materialistic values and promoting that what one possesses is more important than who one is (Preserve). Advertisers want their ad to stand out so they attempt to do so by using techniques such as humor, ongoing story lines, unexpected dialogue, unusual techniques, attention getting spokespersons, or simply by repeating ads to the extent that it is inevitable for a consumer to remember them Cohen, p. 6). Advertising is very common and there are many techniques used to entice consumers; unfortunately, some advertisers go to extremes to persuade consumers, which can create social problems. One such extremist is Olivier Toscanini, better known as the photographer and creative director of Benton (Italian clothing company) advertising. However, Olivier is not an extremist in the sense of irrationality, but rather quite an organized, intelligent and original creator, who’s marketing strategies for Benton have been known as controversial and somewhat politically incorrect.
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Before I tart analyzing the Marketing strategies of Benton, believe a brief history of the company will be useful. The Benton family in Pompano Veneto, Italy founded Benton in 1965 as an affiliation. In 1985, shareholders associated with the Benton family put on the market almost 1 1% of the ordinary shares of the company to the public in Europe. This initial strategy was used to “establish a liquid public market for the company’s shares” and to make it easier for the Company to “access the international capital markets”.
Benton is the “world leader” in the design, production, and selling of unique informal attire for both genders from first born till middle age. The clothing focuses consist of a wide variety of colors and is mostly recognized as knitted garments and casual. In addition to their traditional image, in 1997, Benton merged with a “Sportsmen” (S. P. A). This new stock added new ranges of brands like Nordic, Rollerblading, and Prince, all of which are sports wear (Benton homepage).
Benton officially adopted the trademark, “United Colors of Benton” in 1989, initiating and formalizing more than ten years strategy to drastically change the image of conventional advertising. Bonnet’s advertising campaigns and social communication strategies are a clear echo of present-day culture and society. The “United Colors of Benton” Campaign transformed the traditional notions of advertising. Their goal was no longer to simply sell their products, the brand name or to create a desire of purchase, but to also promote social concerns, critiques, and ideologies (Jones, 254).
It is interesting to see how controversy has accompanied every advertising campaign that Olivier has created for LACK. In this case, promotion of the product is not the only motivation for advertising; almost more important, the advertising campaigns are hoping to promote the company (CUB). This was mainly achieved by creatively explaining the company’s philosophy to the clients. After learning the effects the company philosophy can produce, the advertisers’ (Tuscany) desired results are that the consumer will buy a company’s products because that company’s philosophy appeals to them (Bouzouki 2).
After critically assessing the various campaigns that ran for United Colors of Benton, we will be able to see how Tuscany created and expanded the horizons of the company’s hilltop’s. In place of the product, Benton presented powerful and problematic visual images of social issues of global importance such as: environmental disasters, peace, Aids, terrorism, murder, struggle against racism and most recently, capital punishment, in their advertising campaigns. This strategy was born of the company’s wish to produce images of global concern for it global consumers.
The company’s strategy was that issues, not clothes, played the lead role. Through time, they opted to utilize issues that appealed and concerned both young and old people. Benton supposedly lives that it is important to take a standpoint in the real world instead of using their advertising budget to carry on the “myth that they can make consumers happy through the mere purchase of their products”. Their advertisements differ in that they do not contain a copy or a product but only the “logo” of the company.
They do not act as temptations for the public to immediately go out and buy their products, but rather the adverts spark a discussion about issues that the company feels are not discussed enough. At the end of the day, Benton wishes to be the drive of the discussions but not he focus (Benton homepage). Bonnet’s new communication strategy started in the spring of 1984, with the campaign entitled ‘All the Colors of the World”. It all began with photographs in which different races were portrayed as living together in peace and harmony. The targeted audience of this campaign was young black people.
The campaign caused a “racial polemic in South Africa”; the photographs were rejected by publications set aside for whites. This campaign ran through 14 countries and was the first to trigger the controversy that exists till today towards Olivier Tsunami’s advertising campaigns. However, this slight setback did not stop any future campaigns from taking place no matter their outrageousness. Another such campaign was the one about the uprising copilot in the occupied territories of Israel that came out in 1987. One of the ads featured an Arab and a Jew hugging each other with a globe between them.
This time, the advertisement triggered worldwide controversy that became an object of a covert outrage, which caused the censorship of its original version; where the two opposing nationals had a handful of money between them instead of a globe. Despite the uproar, the campaigns did not end there. In the 1 sass, Benton decided to ignite other various controversial issues. In 1993, it ran a series of ads that had the phrase “HIVE positive” printed on different body parts. In response, Aids groups in France sued Benton for “commercial exploitation of suffering”.
Also, in the sys, the Roman Catholic Church protested a campaign containing models dressed as a priest and a nun kissing. In addition, some human rights groups condemned ads that showed what was supposed to be the bloodied clothing off Bosnian war victim. Once again, despite the many negative views towards the campaigns, Olivier Tuscany continued with his org. Most recently, on January 1st 2000, Benton crossed all moral and ethical boundaries using what is probably one of the most emotional and debatable topics today; the Death Penalty.
The “Death Row” ads feature portraits of American death Row inmates in jail uniforms with the slogan, “Sentenced to Death”. The ads uncovered their names, dates of birth, crime and expected method of execution. Within the campaign, the inmates also discuss topics ranging from their childhood to their dreams, everything that comes to mind except their victims (Pro-death penalty. Com). According to CNN, victims’ rights advocates are outraged as are the individuals that lost loved ones to the profiled inmates. Once again, the Benton group faces great controversy that could perhaps worsen their already poor US market share.
However, these Odd marketing techniques are not the only ones that Benton depend on to take advantage of the true meaning of advertising. Besides the advertising campaigns mentioned above, Benton has made use of other forms of advertising to truly market its products in order to increase sales. The actual Benton products are advertised through a wide array of ell-placed shops and catalogues, as well as fashion editorials in which the collections are exhibited directly to the consumer (Benton Homepage). The company also has it’s own public relations office in every fundamental country that communicate with fashion editors.
Furthermore, Benton owns a Formula One racing car. (Benton homepage). Naturally, at some point, the company has to use conventional marketing technique uses to guarantee complete exposure of their goods, increase sales and so on and so forth. These other aspects of their marketing bother me. Benton tends to contradict its actions. According to the company owners, as previously mentioned, Benton is deviating from the norms of advertising in order not to send the message that purchasing their products is the ultimate thing to do, but rather to put forth issues that are far more important than garments.
Yet, as we can see they do indeed use the “traditional” marketing techniques, but in discrete ways. It is now time to discuss the impact of these marketing strategies on the sales of the Company itself. First of all, it is important to mention that Olivier Tsunami’s campaigns did not draw out reactions from all the countries in which Benton and it’s other rand’s are available. For instance, the Death Penalty issue only caused reactions in North America, especially in states where it was still practiced (Stouter, C 1).
For example, people in Texas opposed the campaign and gave it much more thought and attention than people in the state of Washington. Surprisingly, according to the Wall Street Journal, overall, U. S consumers did not accept the campaign. The article that came out on the 24th of January stated the dangerous waters in which Benton is treading. It mentioned that in the 1 sass, Benton had 700 stores in the United States, which back then, dad it the biggest market outside Europe. Today, this number has decreased significantly to 200 stores (Wall Street Journal, p. 6).
At this point in time, when Benton owns 7,000 stores in 120 countries worldwide, the mere 200 in the U. S are screaming “BAD NEWS”. This is obviously a negative aspect because one of the main goals for an advertising campaign is to reach people. Losing one fifth of the population of the U. S population is a long shot away from this goal. This focuses could be attributed to the failure to design a consistent marketing strategy from the beginning. Focuses not all news is ad news for Benton. With a grand sum of 4,000 billion lire (Italian Currency), the Benton Group is best described as universal.
It is one of the world’s most advanced industrial compounds in its kind, with the capacity to handle the production of the new sportswear collections and casual clothing of over 90 million attires per year. Sports, as we know, have had a positive impact on the Benton Group, “from the Formula to motor-cycling, from Ski to in line skating and from tennis to snowboard. This in turn clarifies Bonnet’s strong participation in the Olympic games that took place in Sydney recently, where t provided the Italian athletes with Uniforms.
Focuses these results signify the effectiveness of traditional marketing, which obviously had a positive impact on sales. However these sales could also be a result of an artistic appreciation intent on praising the company’s daring in pushing the limits of public acceptance. Evidently, Bonnet’s marketing strategies have generated both positive and negative impacts on the company group. One of the “negative” aspects is that there is no link between the campaign and the products the company makes and sells; yet the campaign does this to promote the company and its brand.
The positive aspect of this whole fiasco is that the campaigns did in fact cause discussions to take place about these important social issues. Who knows? Maybe someday they will be the cause for a drastic movement for change. Advertising is the richest and most powerful form of commercial communication in the world Overall, I believe the strategies of Benton were the works of no less than a genius. The company created an artificial frenzied reality that traumatized the world’s worst social issues, while simultaneously grabbing our attention and thus exposing and selling their brand name. It is an implicit suggestion that
Benton cares about the controversial issues and wants to see a discussion about these topics. There have been a great variety of reactions and opinions regarding the individual images. It is not the provocative content of the united Colors campaign that disturbs people; it is the vague objective of the images and their commercial structure. Although the Benton group recognize this uncomfortable situation, they find it to be not only profitable but also a way to express their ideas. It is not the images themselves what is seemed offensive, but is their use within the narrow context of advertising. Scandalous violence in the news is normal.