Benetton Communication Strategy

The Benetton campaigns since 1984 have always been futuristic, provocative and high controversial. By shocking people, it grabed media and consumers attention and awake their curiosity. Indeed, Benetton won numerious awards but also knew difficulties to make their campaigns profitable on the different markets in the world. Thus I’m going to show you the different reaction of the controversial advertisments of Benetton, their benefic effects on the brand recognition and sales, but also the negatives one.

If we consider the positive effects, we should begin to say that through its innovative advertisements, Benetton succeeded to create a cultural embrace. Its advertising campaigns subtly launch hard political and social messages which gave the brand a status and power its clothing ranges alone could not provide. Also by showing standpoints on thorny global issues, the company won the interest of the journalists and has benefited from influential free press. This enabled the company to cut their cost in the communication budget, which is really low compared the one of their competitors.

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Moreover considering the repartition of the sales of Benetton amongst the different region, Benetton can rejoice in the success of sales in Asia (+6%) and South America. Indeed espacially in Japan and India, Benetton knew a good feedback in TV commercials from retailers and consumers. The advertising was limited to the period of sales (end of the season) but Benetton benefited from the really good image of Italian fashion in asia espacially. The advertising strategy was a sucess for the brand recognition in Europe but we must consider also the effect of the schoking ads in the sales and on the American Market.

As we saw it on the previous table, the american market has clearly not been conquered, it still represents 4% of the global sales while american buying capacity is huge. This number can be explained by the schock that Benetton images aroused in United States. One particular campaign ‘we on the death row’ showing 26 prisoners sentenced to death generated protestations from Us citizen and the government and led them to boycott Benetton stores. Conscients on the terribly of this campaign, retailers cancelled a 100 million contract about selling clothes of United Colors of Benetton.

To face this situation, Benetton recentered on clothing ranges advertising by making a huge campaign on the sports clothes . The budget of this marketing campaign has reached 27 millions us dollars. Also the Unhate campaign has been judget really schoking in Europe and especially in catholic countries, as two images show respectively the pope Benoit XVI kissing an Imam and a priest kissing a nun. Indeed in Italy this image has been banned by the italian advertising authority while european countries were at the beginning the more good willing faced to the benetton campaigns.

Today, Benetton knows decrease on the european (-2%) and american market (stores closing) and has difficulties to face the economic crise in these regions. The campaigns about social issues doesn’t seem to help the sale to grow. Indeed, for 40 years the adverts has been quite the same, the brand is well-known for her social implication but people don’t really know what are the clothes that Benetton offers, while in this economic context consumers must be conviced about the product they could buy.

Sales are being compensated by the increase in developping countries sales such as Russia and South America (which are developping countries and promising market in many sectors) but to face the economical recession Benetton should have a much higher growth rate in sales to maintain its net profit. We can see many negative effects, maybe benetton should rethink their communication strategy.

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