Executive Insights: United Colors of Benetton -- From Sweaters to Success: An Examination of the Triumphs and Controversies of a Multinational Clothing Company

Barela, Mark J.
December 2003
Journal of International Marketing;2003, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p113
Academic Journal
Often regarded as a leader in the multinational marketing industry, United Colors of Benetton continues to face the challenge of effectively marketing clothes across racial, cultural, and religious borders. Changes in market trends and consumer demands have required the Italian company to redevelop its manufacturer and retail processes in order to remain competitive in the growing market. Renowned for using social issue-themed pictures to promote its brand, Benetton's campaigns have resulted in increasing legal and ethical concerns, and world courts have now been asked to define further the line between artistic expression and exploitation. The author discusses the legal action taken against Benetton by its own retailers that claim that the explicit advertisements have resulted in fewer sales. The author reviews different consumer responses to Benetton's unique campaigns with respect to changes in global politics and more frequent acts of terrorism. The author offers suggestions as to how Benetton's unique advertising strategies can better reach the modern market.


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