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How Benetton Moved From Shockvertising To Be ‘Never Shocking’
By: The Drum
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From its early beginnings in 1965, Benneton’s marketing strategy was to challenge social norms, using shocking images to champion issues that affect humanity. From images of the Pope kissing Ahmed el-Tayeb, imam of Egypt's al-Azhar Mosque, to a picture of an HIV-positive patient as he lay dying in hospital, Benneton’s campaigns whipped up controversy and placed the brand front and centre in the public eye. Throughout the 80s and 90s the brand’s penchant for courting controversy fanned the sales fires, leading to Benneton’s chain of shops hitting 7,000 worldwide by 1993.
But then its fortunes changed, and while brand awareness was still high, sales were not. Benetton’s business model of not following fashion trends and only changing them seasonally meant it started to fall behind its trendier fast fashion rivals such as Zara. Sales were sluggish, rising only two per cent between 2000 and 2011.

Last year the brand decided to change tack to turn the tide of its falling sales. Previously it had kept its advertising and retail campaigns separate, but with a focus on purpose not product failing to empty rails, the fashion retailer released a campaign that unified its brand communication and product collection. However, it failed to act as a stop gap with revenues in 2015 down 1.2 per cent to £1.25bn from the previous year.


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About the Author
This article was published by The Drum. A link to the original appears at the end of this post. www.thedrum.com
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