Benetton pursues strategy with more ‘shock’ ads

Benetton is continuing its controversial marketing strategy with more “shock” advertisements, including one showing 1936 German Olympic competitors giving a Nazi salute alongside black-power supporters at the 1968 Olympics.

The campaign has 20 executions and includes ads showing Christ’s crucifixion and a crying Madonna. It has already broken in the US, and various executions will run in different countries. Subsidiaries in each country can choose which of the 20 executions they want to run.

It is part of a $27m (17.7m) global print campaign for the SportsSystem division, which markets sports brands Nordica, Prince, Rollerblade and Ektelon.

The campaign has been created by Benetton’s creative director Oliver Toscani and uses the catchline, “Do you play Life?” The campaign nails previous speculation that Benetton was planning to drop its shock tactics in favour of fresh creative work.

Earlier this year, some ads for Benetton clothing were banned in Germany following protests from the firm’s retailers.