Benetton Group

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Benetton Group
Società a responsabilità limitata
Industry Fashion
Founded 1965; 54 years ago (1965) in Ponzano Veneto, Italy
Founder Luciano Benetton
Carlo Benetton
Giuliana Benetton
Headquarters ,
Area served
Key people
  • Luciano Benetton (Executive Chairman)
  • Tommaso Brusò (Chief Operating Officer)
Revenue €1.529 billion (2015)
Number of employees
7,714 (2015)

Benetton Group S.r.l. (Italian pronunciation: [benetˈton][1]) is a global fashion brand based in Ponzano Veneto, Italy. The name comes from the Benetton family, who founded the company in 1965. Benetton has a network of about 5,000 stores in the main international markets.[2]

Early years

United Colors of Benetton in Parma, Italy
United Colors of Benetton in Prague, Czech Republic
United Colors of Benetton in Belgrade, Serbia

In 1963, Luciano Benetton, the oldest of four children, was a 30-year-old salesman in Treviso. His initial small collection of sweaters received a positive response in local stores in the Veneto region, and soon after he asked his sister and two younger brothers, Gilberto and Carlo, to join him. In 1965, the entity known as the "Benetton Group" was formed.[3]

In 1965, the Benettons opened their first store in Belluno[4] and three years after in Paris, with Luciano as chairman, his brother Gilberto in charge of administration, their younger brother Carlo running production, and Giuliana as a chief designer.


The company's core business remains their clothing lines: United Colors of Benetton[5] and Sisley.[6]

The Group has a network of about 5,000 stores around the world.[2]


The company is known for sponsorship of a number of sports, and for the provocative and original "United Colors" publicity campaign. The latter originated when photographer Oliviero Toscani was given carte blanche by the Benetton management. Under Toscani's direction, ads were created that contained striking images unrelated to any actual products being sold by the company.[citation needed]

Up to 1982, Benetton marketing campaigns relied on traditional models wearing the brand clothing. In 1982, the company decided to change its advertising campaigns by focusing on world issues to raise awareness and create an added value for the brand. In 1984, Oliviero Toscani photographed the first multiracial ad for the brand.[4]

These graphic, billboard-sized ads included depictions of a variety of shocking subjects, one of which featured a deathbed scene of a man (AIDS activist David Kirby) dying from AIDS.[7] Others included a bloodied, unwashed newborn baby with umbilical cord still attached, which was highly controversial. This 1991 advert prompted more than 800 complaints to the British Advertising Standards Authority during 1991 and was featured in the reference book Guinness World Records 2000 as 'Most Controversial Campaign'. Others included a black stallion copulating with a white mare,[8] close-up pictures of tattoos reading "HIV Positive" on the bodies of men and women, a cemetery of many cross-like tombstones, a collage consisting of genitals of persons of various races, a priest and nun about to engage in a romantic kiss, pictures of inmates on death row, an electric chair, an advert showing a dark-skinned boy with hair shaped into the devil's horns, three different hearts with "black", "white" and "yellow" written onto them (from March 1996), and a picture of a bloodied T-shirt and pants riddled with bullet holes from a soldier killed in the Bosnian War (appeared in February 1994).[9] Most of the advertisements, although not all, had a plain white background, and in most the company's logo served as the only text accompanying the image.

2011: Unhate campaign

In November 2011, Benetton created the UNHATE Foundation and launched its new worldwide communication campaign, described by the company as an invitation to the leaders and citizens of the world to combat the "culture of hatred".[10] In a press release, Benetton claimed the campaign was created as the group's corporate social responsibility strategy and not as a cosmetic exercise.[11] Benetton's Fabrica research centre partnered up with 72andSunny to create the UNHATE poster series.[12] These show digitally manufactured images of political and religious leaders, i.e. Barack Obama at that time President of the United States and Hugo Chávez then President of Venezuela, kissing each other.[13][14] According to Benetton “These are symbolic images of reconciliation—with a touch of ironic hope and constructive provocation—to stimulate reflection on how politics, faith and ideas, even when they are divergent and mutually opposed, must still lead to dialogue and mediation”.[15] However, the image series of lip-locking political and religious figures sparked controversy. After protests by the Vatican, Benetton removed a campaign poster purportedly showing Pope Benedict XVI kissing Ahmed Mohamed el Tayeb, the imam of the Al Azhar mosque in Egypt.[16][17][18]

At the Cannes Ad festival in June 2012, Benetton won the Press Grand Prix for its Unhate campaign.[19][20]

2017: #UnitedByPurpose campaign

In November 2017, UCB launched a campaign in collaboration with Devbhumi, a registered company owned by rural women from remote villages in Uttarakhand, India. The initiative claims to empower over 6,000 rural women artisans across India.[21][22]

Sport and sponsorship

Benetton Group entered Formula One as a sponsor of Tyrrell in 1983, then Alfa Romeo in 1984; this arrangement was extended to both Alfa and Toleman in 1985. Benetton Formula Ltd. was formed at the end of 1985 when the Toleman and Spirit teams were sold to the Benetton family. The team saw its greatest success under Flavio Briatore, who managed the team from 1990 to 1997. Michael Schumacher won his first Drivers' Championships with the team in 1994 and 1995, and the team won their only Constructors' title in 1995. From 1996, the team raced under an Italian licence although it continued to be based, like Toleman, in Oxfordshire in England. The team was bought by Renault for US$120 million in 2000 and was rebranded Renault F1 in 2002.

In 1979, Benetton first sponsored their (then amateur) local rugby team, A.S. Rugby Treviso. Benetton Rugby has since become a major force in Italian rugby, with 11 league titles and supplying many players to the national team.[23] Benetton Group has also sponsored Treviso Basket (1982–2012) and Sisley Volley (1987–2012).


Benetton has faced criticism from Mapuche organizations over its purchase of traditional Mapuche lands in Patagonia.[24] The Curiñanco-Nahuelquir family was evicted from their land in 2002 following Benetton's claim to it, but the land was restored in 2007.[25] The company have published a position statement regarding the Mapuche in Patagonia.[26]

Benetton aroused suspicion when they considered using RFID tracking chips on clothes to monitor inventory. A boycott site alleges the tracking chips "can be read from a distance and used to monitor the people wearing them."[27] Issues of consumer privacy were raised and the plan was shelved. Benetton's position on RFID technology is also available on their website.[28]

PETA launched a boycott campaign against Benetton for buying wool from farmers who practiced mulesing. Benetton has since agreed to buy nonmulesed wool and has further urged the wool industry to adopt the PETA and Australian Wool Growers Association agreement to end mulesing.[29] Benetton's position statement on the mulesing controversy is available on their website.[30]

Building collapse at Savar

On 24 April 2013, the eight-storey Rana Plaza commercial building collapsed outside Dhaka that housed one of the factories where Benetton makes its clothing.[31] At least 1,130 people died.[32] Benetton first denied reports linking production of their clothing at the factory, but clothes and documents linked to Benetton were discovered at the disaster site.[33][34][35] Of the 29 brands identified as having sourced products from the Rana Plaza factories, only nine attended meetings held in November 2013 to agree a proposal on compensation to the victims. Several companies refused to sign including Walmart, Carrefour, Bonmarché, Mango, Auchan and Kik. The agreement was signed by Primark, Loblaw, Bonmarche and El Corte Ingles.[36] A year after the collapse, Benetton faced international protests after failing to pay any compensation to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund.[37][38] Protests included shutting down Benetton's flagship Oxford Street store in London.[39]

On April 2015, Benetton Group announced that it has doubled compensation for Rana Plaza victims recommended by independent assessors (PWC AND WRAP) and applied the principles of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety to global suppliers. Benetton's engagement for Bangladesh is available on their website.[40]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "DOP". Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b "At a glance". Benetton Group. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  3. ^ Timeline of the Benetton Group Benetton Group Official Webpage
  4. ^ a b Brady, Donald L. (2014-12-18). Essentials of International Marketing. Routledge. ISBN 9781317471202.
  5. ^ "United Colors of Benetton". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Sisley". Sisley. 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
  7. ^ "The Photo That Brought AIDS Home". Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  8. ^ "El caso de Benetton". PERIODISMO DE MARCA. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  9. ^ "Benetton-Bosnian Soldier Home". Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  10. ^ Benetton Group (2011-11-16). "UNHATE worldwide campaign". Benetton Group. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  11. ^ "The UNHATE project". Benetton Group. 2011-11-16. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  12. ^ "2011". Creative Review. Retrieved 2012-06-28. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Wells, Jane (2011-11-16). "Why Is President Obama Kissing Hugo Chavez?". CNBC. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  14. ^ Rajghatta, Chidanand (2011-11-16). "Benetton jolts world with 'unhate' advertisement showing world leaders in liplock". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  15. ^ Mail Foreign Service (2011-11-17). "Benetton 'Unhate' advert of Pope kissing imam withdrawn after Vatican calls it 'disrespectful'". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
  16. ^ "Press Note". 2011-11-16. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  17. ^ Butt, Riazat (2011-11-17). "Benetton tears down pope-kissing ads after Vatican legal threat". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  18. ^ The Associated Press (2011-11-16). "Benetton pulls ad with Pope kissing imam". CBC. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  19. ^ Patel, Kunur (2012-06-20). "Controversial Benetton Ad Nabs Press Grand Prix". AdAge. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  20. ^ "Benetton 'Unhate' Campaign, Featuring World Leaders Kissing, Wins Cannes Ad Festival Award". Huffington Post. 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  21. ^ "Fashion brand aims to empower over 6,000 women weavers". Archived from the original on 2017-11-14.
  22. ^ Maverick, Martins (2017-11-14). "Benetton collaborates with Devbhumi for special scarves collection". Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  23. ^ "Benetton Rugby - Storia" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  24. ^ "The Invisible Colours of Benetton - Campaign". Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  25. ^ "Recovered Mapuche territory in Patagonia: Benetton vs. Mapuche". MAPU Association. Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  26. ^ "Benetton's position regarding the Mapuche in Patagonia". Archived from the original on 25 June 2012.
  27. ^ "Boycott Benetton". Archived from the original on 2005-03-09. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  28. ^ "Benetton's position on RFID technology".
  29. ^ "Campaign ends". PETA Save the Sheep! campaign. Archived from the original on 2005-11-06. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  30. ^ "Benetton's position regarding the controversy on mulesing between the Australian Wool Industry and PETA".
  31. ^ Ahmed, Saeed; Lakhani, Leone (14 June 2013), "Bangladesh building collapse: An end to recovery efforts, a promise of a new start", CNN, retrieved 16 December 2013
  32. ^ "Rana Plaza factory collapse survivors struggle one year on". BBC News. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  33. ^ "Benetton denies to have any involvement with Bangladesh factory in their Tweet".
  34. ^ Cohn, Emily (2013-04-29). "Benetton Denies Ties To Deadly Bangladesh Factory, But Its Shirts Were Found In The Rubble: Quartz (PHOTOS)". Huffington Post.
  35. ^ "Bangladesh factory collapse death toll rises above 1,000".
  36. ^ Ovi, Ibrahim Hossain (2013), Buyers' compensation for Rana Plaza victims far from reality, archived from the original on 25 March 2016, retrieved 16 December 2013
  37. ^ Tichborne, Beth (2014-04-26). "Benetton stores targeted by global protests". Indymedia UK.
  38. ^ Butler, Sarah (2014-04-24). "Rana Plaza disaster marked by Oxford Street demonstration". The Guardian.
  39. ^ Kilcooley-O'Halloran, Scarlett (2014-04-25). "Benetton Rana Plaza Protests". Vogue.
  40. ^ "Benetton Group - Corporate Website".

External links

  • Media related to Benetton Group at Wikimedia Commons
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