This blog is about controversial advertising in the 21st century.
The aim of this blog is to show people how adverts can be interesting, shocking and sometimes offensive. Usually, people take adverts as something boring and annoying because adverts are everywhere. In metro, on the bus and train stations, on the motorways, restaurants, cinemas, schools and on television. Adverts are aimed to persuade people to buy a specific product. But they can also alert people of diseases, protections and other catastrophes such as terrorism or racism. MTV and United Colors of Benetton are famous of doing controversial adverts which tries to address people of particular problem. MTV is doing adverts alerting young people of AIDS and crossing the streets safely and United Colors of Benetton address to problem of racism. Other advertisement campaigns, mainly in the clothing industry and cosmetics are also contoversial, very often with sexual undertone.
I like these types of adverts because they are very creative and therefore easy to remember. I think that society needs controversial adverts (in limit to sexual content and aggression because the advertisment world will be more imaginative and colourful.
Very interesting website which shows more controversial commercial is www.heraldsun.com.au. There are many commercial pictures from brands such as Benetton, Dolce a Gabbana, Lee, etc.
Other website focusing at the issue of controversial advertising is www.bbcnews.com.ukhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4943500.stm. BBC News chose ten most controversial commercials over last year, put pictures of them and make brief comments. I think that it is interesting to see how advertising companies get their ideas and how creative they could be.
Third interesting web page focus on controversial commercials made in the fashion industry. The site show us the most shocking fashion adverts which were published in the fashion history. These fashion ads are made for the most famous fashion designers. Most of them are full of sexual undertone, some very shocking like Tom Ford man male perfume.
However, these adverts are original and people talk about them for long time. And it is important because it is sign of well done and creative commercial.
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Gucci hairy advert is very controversal, shocking and with sexual undertone as you can see on the picture. Gucci marks the spot with a G in their latest magazine campaign Model Carmen Kass is pictured as she is pulling down her knickers and showing off body hair shaved into the letter ‘G’. Mario Testino who shot the image calls it ’Pubic Enemy’. Some people have called the image ‘vile, coarse and degrading to women’. The advert is fascinating on one hand and very different and sexual on the other hand. The famous photographer Mario Testino always shock people by his controversial piece of art. The Gucci’s advert is very sexy and therefore can scandalize or insult many people, especially in very conservative countries such as England.
The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK, which has the power to ban offensive material, said it was investigating after receiving a number of complaints.
“The companies involved clearly release these kind of pictures to create as much publicity as possible, but it’s a thoroughly unpleasant and irresponsible tactic. We can’t simply ignore them.
Imagery showing young women in this way is extremely
harmful to society, and should not be appearing in mainstream magazines.
The ASA has a duty to ensure that advertisements are decent,
and this clearly isn’t. It’s deeply offensive and should
be banned immediately.”
A spokesman for Gucci lets us know:
“All our important players are in Milan at the moment
and nobody is around to speak about the picture.
” Toasting in grappa, for a controversial stunt well done, I’m sure.
Here is a link which show you the whole article: http://commercial-archive.com/node/7441
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United Colors of Benetton try to join the circle of trust and tolerance by unifying white, black and yellow races together.
The advertising philosophy of United Colors of Benetton is based on Luciano Benetton’s belief that
‘communication should not be commissioned from outside the company, but conceived from within its heart.’
From that assumption stems the advertising strategy of a brand that has aimed, for over 20 years, to create “value” by capitalizing on an image. A company that emphasizes value and chooses to create value is no longer communicating with the consumer but with the individual. Actual consumption is repositioned within the overall context of life. By entering the universe of values, the brand frees the product from the world of merchandise and manufacturing and makes it a social being of its own. By addressing an individual rather than a customer, the brand can identify its target on the basis not of age or income, but of a shared vision of what is important, starting from a set of common values. Benetton became a global force in just a few years—the United Colors concept spread from encompassing the different races to the ideas of tolerance, peace and respect for diversity.
The cycle of difference
Benetton’s long journey toward its destiny as a subverter of stereotypes began with its cooperation with Oliviero Toscani and the images of the 1986 campaign. Happy groups of multiracial kids were replaced by “couples” representing an all-new interpretation 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. Often, an attempt to bring different individuals together can lead to conflict instead of happiness and euphoria.
Many ads from the period were an expression of this process. One represented religious and political conflict (the Palestinian and the Israeli):
Another 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.
All of these conflicts were based on taboos, on the impossibility of co-existence, on a difference that separates rather than unites. By acknowledging these differences and prohibitions, the brand appeared more involved. It took sides, rather than presenting a simple “objective” portrayal of the world; it made a commitment to foster the cohabitation of opposites, to break down barriers and ensure dialogue. 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. Traditional advertising messages made the product their obvious focus, so that the campaign would have a measurable commercial impact. Benetton took another path, wagering that once the brand’s identity had been established, the product would become one of its attributes. The company was now taking hold on all the continents. Paradoxically, the growing popularity and availability of tangible Benetton merchandise—the goods people could buy in more than 5,000 stores worldwide—translated into the disappearance of those goods from its ads.
Oliviero Toscani (b. 1942 is an Italian photographer, best-known worldwide for designing controversial advertising campaigns for Italian brand Benetton, from 1982 to 2000. Most of these advertising campaigns were actually institutionals for the brand, always composed of rather controversial photography, usually with only the company logo “United Colors of Benetton” as caption.
This controversial public safety campaign commercial has been regularly shown on British television, aimed at warning teens about road safety. The poor video quality was intentional, as the advert was shot entirely on a mobile (cell) phone.The campaign was very important because it highlighted the need for teenagers to pay attention when walking on the road. The shocking advert was filmed with a mobile phone camera, giving the feel of a home-made film. Teenagers muck around on the pavement. One of them goes to cross the road. He looks one way but not the other – a fatal mistake.
The idea of make such a controversial advert was very successful because the real situation in the advert makes people think, especially teenagers that playing with cell phones or iPods could be very dangerous, especially when not taking attention in the cities where heavy traffic occur very often. Such accidents occur every day and therefore it was important to make an advert which looks real and controversial because teenagers will remember it easily and probably will take more attention when crossing the street. MTV is worldwide television channel, very popular amongst young people and so putting such advertising campaign called THINK! on MTV was very wise.
Another controversial advert, again distributed by MTV is commercial warning young people of sexual transmitted disease AIDS. The big issue of AIDS is being discussed for very long time and sadly, percentage of people being HIV positive is growing. This is why MTV made this TV commercial warning young people what can happen and why they should use protection. Such advert relate to the problem of sexual transmmited diseases such as AIDS, showing how stupidily a person can die.
Video below is showing the advert.
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