Benetton Group  

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"The corporation most conspicuous in its use of AIDS in advertising is Benetton. In one of the most notorious ad campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s, it uses charged documentary images of violence, disaster, and controversy to sell clothing."--Tangled Memories (1997) by Marita Sturken

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Benetton is a global upmarket clothing brand, based in Treviso, Italy. Benetton also produces the magazine Colors.

Benetton created a succès de scandale in the late 20th century producing a long-running series of controversial, sometimes offensive, "United Colors of Benetton" advertisements that have caused a number of media critics to accuse the company of deliberately creating controversy in order to sell its products.

This publicity campaign originated when photographer Oliviero Toscani was given carte blanche by the Benetton managment. The ads entitled have included images that are apparently unrelated to the clothes sold by the company, including scenes of David Kirby dying of AIDS, panicking crowds jumping off of a sinking ship, a bloody, unwashed newborn baby, and a death row inmate. The only caption included in these pictures is the Benetton logo.

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