– Benetton is an Italian luxury fashion brand
Brands: United Colors of Benetton, Undercolors of Benetton, Sisley and Playlife.
Founders: Luciano, Gilberto, Carlo and Giuliana Benetton
Benetton Group History:
In 1965, Luciano Benetton, the eldest of four children, was a 30-year-old salesman in Treviso. He saw a market for colourful clothes, and sold a younger brother’s bicycle in order to buy his first second-hand knitting machine. 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.
Benetton Group Trivia:
1. 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 firstDrivers’ Championships with the team in 1994 and 1995, and the team won their only Constructors’ title in 1995. The team was bought by Renault for US$120m in 2000 and was rebranded Renault F1.
2. In 1979, Benetton Group 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.
3. The company is known for the provocative and original “United Colors” publicity campaign. Under photographer Oliviero Toscani’s direction, ads were created that contained striking images unrelated to any actual products being sold by the company. 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.
4. Another ad 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’.
5. Benetton aroused suspicion when they considered using RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) 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.” Issues of consumer privacy were raised and the plan was shelved.
6. Benetton has faced criticism from Mapuche (group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina) organizations, over its purchase of traditional Mapuche lands in Patagonia. The Curiñanco-Nahuelquir family was evicted from their land in 2002 following Benetton’s claim to it, but the land was restored in 2007.
7. Oliver Toscani, a very famous Italian photographer is now world famous thanks to his designing of these controversial ads for Benetton