BENETTON: UNHATE AD KISSES UP TO SAVVY RETAILERS
by Winsip Custer CPW News Service
The United Colors advertising campaign of Benetton’s photographic ad wizzer, Oliviero Toscani, which launched in 1982 needed to be redefined, re-energized and reshaped for a brighter, younger, but less hopeful market. “Jobs pay for clothes. Not kisses. These kids have felt like the world has told them to ‘kiss my ass’. The world-wide economic picture sucks,” said Igor Rumincendle of the non-profit Center for Ad Literacy in Brookline, Massachusetts. Enter TBWA a subsidiary of Sigmund Freud and Edward Bernay’s monolithic mind blowing cranium crunchers, Omnicron. With a long history of sliding the most powerful mind-science motivational manipulators under the radar of conscious thinking, TBWA decided to sell clothing with nothing more than a kiss. But a unique kiss. One that captures a vision of the seemingly impossible, like Coca-Cola teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony while Coke executives helped fund Iran-Contra training bases in Belize in the 1980’s.
“Advertising is amoral at its core,” said Rumincendle. “But when the Vatican revolted at the thought of the Pope kissing a Muslim cleric just after 37 Roman Catholic pedophiles were revealed in June, 2011 in Philadelphia just ahead of the Sandusky scandal, the gig was up. It was a perfect storm of crisscrossed tornadoes. Even though there’s going to be a tremendous surge in product identity associated with the campaign, it is way too early to tell if that will have an overall positive or negative effect on Benetton’s bottom line. I mean, who could possibly be against an innocent kiss? What could a kiss possibly do with anything but joy and happiness and rising Thanksgiving to Christmas clothing sales? These youngsters have been kissed more than Ireland’s Blarney Stone,” said Rumincendle.