THE MASTERMIND IS BACK TO BENETTON!
Two photographs. A class of twenty-eight children. They represent thirteen different nationalities from four continents. They’re smiling. They have their future ahead of them. Ten children -from Burkina Faso to the Philippines, from Italy to Senegal- are gathered round a teacher who’s reading Pinocchio. They’re totally engrossed in the story, listening carefully… The new Benetton campaign by Oliviero Toscani, returns to the integration. A theme that has long been dear to the brand, imbuing it with new meaning and urgency.
“Integration is a major issue in our world today”. 17 years after, Oliviero Toscani returned to Benetton. And so did Lucianno Benetton. But it seems that they have never left. Toscani is injecting a fresh dose of energy to the brand with a new communication campaign. Just don’t dare calling it advertising! “That’s an old way of thinking, we don’t do that,” he stresses out, during a speech at the headquarters of Benetton’s Fabrica, the progressive “think tank” he created in 1994.
As we know from the past, Toscani doesn’t have many filters. He is direct and opinionated. “Did you suffer? Did you miss me?” he says. “But you still remember what Benetton did 20 years ago. Do you remember what H&M did 20 years ago? Or any other brand?”.
He recalls those times as “very exciting because nothing was really planned. If that happened it’s because Luciano Benetton is a very special entrepreneur. He is not afraid to think that the company’s communication has to deal with the reality of society, not something that has no sense. He believes that we have to belong to our time, to the problems and what is conditioning society. A modern company is a very important player in a society. It’s not just the media that handles the truth. Everybody must be aware of what is going on”.
Luciano Benetton is behind Toscani’s campaign. He also returned to the Benetton Group in the beginning of 2018, as Executive Chairman.
“TO SELL IS NOT BAD, YOU HAVE TO FACE A MARKET. BUT THE FACT IS THAT YOU ALSO HAVE TO FACE THE PROBLEMS OF THE SOCIETY”
TOSCANI IN HIS OWN WORDS
If we don’t understand the huge problem of integration nowadays, we are going to miss the point. A company like Benetton lives on integration. We are present worldwide, we have to understand everybody. All kinds of discrimination and racism are ridiculous.
ON THE 2 IMAGES
The two first images of the Benetton campaign depicture a primary school class in Italy. But I can go to France and it’s the same. In Germany it’s probably even bigger, in Spain, in Catalonia, too. I thought this is a symbol to start from. We start again. These children are going to be the society of the future. You better look at them well…
These images are not softer than these of my past work, which ranged from the portrayal of people on death row, to a black horse mounting a white one. The priest and nun photo was very soft, almost stupid, easy compared to this, but it provoked. Don’t …worry the new campaign will provoke as well.
ON THE COLLABORATION WITH BENETTON
I don’t want to put a time frame to my collaboration with Benetton. I live day by day. You cannot really plan your enthusiasm. If you do, you mediocritize the quality and the quantity.
If you are not free, you are not good for the person you are working with. I want free people around me -and Luciano Benetton feels the same. When you are free, you produce your best. That doesn’t mean that if you are free you are going to do great work, though.
The new Benetton-Toscani collaboration started with two images, that appeared in the media by the end of 2017. They are the first stage of a much larger project on the subject of integration. He will also be involved with the image of the United Colors of Benetton brand.
Courtesy of Benetton Greece