IN APRIL 2000 United Colours of Benetton fired its artwork director Oliviero Toscani over his promoting marketing campaign in regards to the dying penalty, entitled “Wanting Dying within the Face”. On the time, Rory Carroll of The Observer speculated that Toscani “virtually definitely won’t ever once more attain a worldwide viewers on the size of his Benetton billboards” however final week it appeared that he had spoken a bit prematurely. Toscani has joined Benetton as soon as once more, together with Luciano Benetton, the founder.
For 18 years Toscani had been pushing the bounds of promoting. With every marketing campaign got here a brand new spherical of backlash, censorship and, after all, a hefty quantity of press. However this closing marketing campaign, launched in January 2000 and depicting 26 dying row inmates staring blankly into the digital camera behind the inauspicious stamp, SENTENCED TO DEATH, proved to be Toscani’s undoing.
Homicide victims’ households lobbied retailers and customers, and gross sales consequently plummeted. Malls dropped the model; the state of Missouri filed a multi-million greenback lawsuit claiming that footage of inmates had been taken underneath false pretences. It was the nail within the coffin for the Italian photographer and marked the tip of the partnership between Toscani and the Benetton empire throughout which a few of the most groundbreaking and experimental promoting of the late 20th century had been conceived. From AIDS victims to the bloodstained clothes of a lifeless soldier, interracial and gay relationships, non-white or LGBTQ+ folks – Toscani shied away from nothing. It paid off each culturally and financially.
Now, he’s again, with a brand new marketing campaign that includes 28 college youngsters from 4 continents and 13 completely different international locations, all of whom will “form future society”, based on Toscani. Though this partnership doesn’t look to be as scandalous (learn: thrilling) as a few of the model’s earlier campaigns it nonetheless adheres to Toscani’s said precept that promoting ought to mirror the true world. As he has quipped prior to now, “once we talked about AIDS it wasn’t controversial, it was the truth”. And with trend in a second of flux, pressured to confront its demons and adapt to a more and more vocal and numerous buyer base, it might be prime time for Toscani to re-enter the dialog.
Right here, we check out a few of Oliviero Toscani’s most scandalous advert campaigns for United Colours of Benetton.