Benetton Uses Prayer to Stitch Up Chinese/Tibetan Differences


One thing I love about Benetton: it never knows when to leave well enough alone. "Victims," the current issue of its company magazine Colors, uses the tragedy of the SouthWest China earthquake to try mending the China/Tibetan conflict.

The issue includes 30 shots of quake victims integrated with 30 prayers written for them by Tibetan monks. An accompanying Benetton ad displays a Tibetan monk and a Chinese soldier bowing toward each other, possibly in greeting, apology or shared grief. Readers can send their own prayers over for inclusion in a campaign exhibition.

Provocative as always, but I generally have trouble hating on Benetton (except when they fired Toscani). The "Victims" ad campaign is running in Italian newspapers and in French daily Le Monde.

by Angela Natividad    Aug-12-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Cause, Good, Magazine, Online   

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Most of the Benetton ads I've seen are pretty generic product pieces: multicolored kids in multicolored scarves, women wearing totally impractical layers... I think its cause ads are the exception, not the rule, but they happen to steal all the press. Not a bad side hustle.

With that said...

"We promote horse breeding!" That shit's hilarious.

Posted by: Angela on August 12, 2008 4:01 PM

Back in the day, we used to joke about Benetton: "The place white babies go to be nursed by a black woman! We comfort families through their loss of loved ones through AIDS! Interracial clergy kissing products! We promote horse breeding!" The exclusionary nature of their branding- if you don't know the brand or what the products are, this ad will not help you in the least- has come to represent an entire culture of self-involvement typified by internal references and in-jokes.

No one questions Toscani's visionary talent, and the ads' imagery, undeniably powerful, may be based upon the altruistic values of the brand's human management, but ultimately it's merely another case of creatives showing off for/talking to one another.

Do the products look good? Are they well made? Are the stores pleasant, or more like a terminal ward in a hospital? Obviously these questions were not part of the branding process. Impact, yes. Orgasms at Cannes? Probably.Relevance? Connectivity? Who knows?

Posted by: lokisez on August 12, 2008 4:07 PM