is good marketing, dachte sich Benetton damals und hat das bitter bereut:
In 1991, peace and brotherhood have been replaced by the desire to shock and provoke customers, as some of the opponents claim. Ads became more aggressive and attention grabbing. First came a giant poster showing a cloud made up of multicolored condoms, after that the priest-kissing-a-nun poster, which drew protests from around the world, followed by a newborn child covered with blood. In 1993, Benetton launched Aids and Safe Sex Campaign, with its very graphic and controversial posters. The list goes on. The ads initially succeed in rising brand’s profile, but eventually began to cause problems with customers and retailers. In 1995, German retailers sued Benetton, claiming the ads sabotage their sales effort. In the U.S., the company had even more problems. By 1995 stores had all but disappeared. Sensationalism bred more sensationalism, but not sales. Advertising Age reported surveys in which 83% of customers said Benetton ads did not persuaded them to shop for the company products (Famina, 2000). In the late nineties, to boost up sales in the U. S., Benetton tried to team up with the Sears, Roebuck. It could have worked if it was not for the upcoming advertising promotion. In the January 2000, Benetton launched „We, on Death Row“ campaign. In it Benetton reveals the real faces of the prisoners on the death row along with an explanation: „(…) this project aims at showing to the public the reality of capital punishment, so that no one around the world will consider the death penalty neither as a distant problem nor as news that occasionally appear on TV“ (www.benetton.com). The pictures of faces of 27 incarcerated men and one woman, along with the interviews, first appeared as a 98-page ad insert in the February issue of ‚Talk‘ magazine. Toscani explains, „We wanted to talk about how it feels to be on death row. What do they dream about? What are they afraid of?“ (ibid) Many were outraged, claiming that Benetton wants to „(…) increase its sales on the backs, on the misery, on the fates of condemned men and women, and their slaughtered victims“ (Garfield 2000). It is difficult to guess if the Mr. Benetton or Mr. Toscani have anticipated the outcome of the campaign. In Europe, the issue has not initiated such strong reactions, but in the U. S. the company got a crushing blow. Within weeks of the first ads, Benetton was hit by a lawsuit from the state of Missouri, along with boycotts organized by National Organization of Murder Children etc. All the controversy proved to be lethal to Benetton’s contract with Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Und nun zu StudiVZs verzweifeltem Versuch, mit etwas auffälliger produzierten Viralvideos im Ausland für den Dienst zu trommeln. Die Videos sollen demnächst im Netz erscheinen, ist also noch nicht soweit. Werbeblogger verweist dazu auf BooCompany, wo man sich eins der drei Videos reinziehen kann. Ich frage mich nach wie vor, ob diese Videos jemals offiziell das Licht der Welt erblicken werden. Respektive der Erfahrung von Benetton.