My Advertising Inspiration

10 12 2008

I think it is always interesting to find out why people choose the fields they are in. In my case, I knew my entire life I would go into advertising. My main inspiration was my father, who had a very successful agency for almost 20 years. But there was a specific campaign that always caught my eye growing up and that was with Benetton (I actually ended up working in a store on my college breaks!) Benetton has always “pushed the envelope”. Going on the slogan “The United Colors of Benetton” it was the first ad campaign that I remember that the print ads had nothing to do with the product actually sold.  Their campaign was recognized by how controversial they could appear. These 2 examples show what I am saying:

The first refers to The Cycle of Difference

In this cycle, the word “different” became a close cousin of “controversial.” Benetton learned that dealing with the issue of difference within the process of advertising is not an easy task.  These ads depicted religious and sexual conflict (a priest kissing a nun), and yet another portrayed moral conflict (the stereotypes of good and evil, symbolized by an angel and the devil):

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By acknowledging these differences and prohibitions, the brand appeared more involved. It took sides, rather than presenting a simple “objective” portrayal of the world. Benetton had a plan: to integrate opposites, to unite differences under a single flag, the flag of its own logo. In this phase, the “product” gradually disappeared from the advertisements.

The second is the Cycle of Reality

In 1991, during the Gulf War, this image was created, a photo of a war cemetery: also

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The photo of the newborn baby girl, Giusy, was intended as an anthem to life, but was one of the most censured visuals in the history of Benetton ads. In the realm of advertising, traditionally occupied by pretense, the eruption of real life caused a scandal. As you can guess, many publications refused to print these. Which raises another question – is all publicity good publicity? Maybe I will save that issue for next time…

-Krista Rodriguez

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