Benetton Hits Middle Age

In the history of attention-getting advertising, writes Rick Poynor, Benetton must surely deserve a place as one of the most effective companies ever to splash its promotional message across a billboard or magazine spread. There was a time when not a year would go by without some new outrage or controversy to set the pundits’ tongues wagging, usually in disapproval, and compel everyone else to take notice of what the knitwear giant was up to now. The company’s charismatic creative director, Oliviero Toscani, was able to dream up an apparently never-ending supply of jaw-dropping stunts and dubious provocations. Neither he nor his indulgent boss, Luciano Benetton, appeared to care in the slightest if people were upset or scandalised by the company’s latest campaign. The main thing for them, it seemed, was that we should keep talking about Benetton.
Then, in 2000, all this stopped. Benetton’s Sentenced to Death initiative about killers on death row was a campaign too far. It caused enormous offence in the US and Toscani resigned. If Benetton’s ads are still provoking heated discussion and calls to tear posters down from the hoardings, it has passed me by. It’s hard not to conclude that, without Toscani at the helm, Benetton’s corporate image is a shadow of what it was.

Why am I being asked to register with CR?

Every month, hundreds of thousands of people visit us here on our website. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. We just ask you to provide a few details about yourself and what you do. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so. In return you can:

Submit your work

Send us your latest projects, which we will review and consider to be featured on our website or in print.

Access our full archive

This site contains over 10 years’ of CR content, including magazine articles. Register to gain full access to everything.

Receive our newsletter

Our daily email of inspiration and insight from the creative industries, curated by the CR editorial team

The Photography Annual 2017

Creative Review’s Photography Annual seeks to
celebrate great images – those who take them
and those who commission them. View all the
winning work in our current print issue

Buy the issue

The Annual 2018

The Creative Review Annual is one of the most
respected and trusted awards for the creative
industry. We celebrate the best creative work from
the past year, those who create it and commission it.

Enter now

SENIOR DESIGNER

Farringdon

SENIOR CREATIVE DESIGNER

Northamptonshire

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Gloucestershire (GB)