Benetton goes naked for diversity and inclusivity-focused campaign

Benetton is back making waves with its marketing campaigns following the return of Oliviero Toscani to the fold last year. His latest piece of work for the Italian brand makes a point about inclusivity by the campaign for its autumn collection featuring naked models.

It might not quite have the shock value of some of the best-known Benetton creatives of the past, but it’s certainly a talking point. And while the image features nine naked models, it’s certainly not about the sexiness of nudity.

Instead, the focus is on the multiple ethnicities of the models and the fact that they’re all embracing. This is inclusivity in a big way – although it’s interesting that the cast are all traditionally model-thin with no attempt at size diversity. 

Toscani was brought back into Benetton last autumn by Luciano Benetton after having stepped back from the firm in 2000. And while during his earlier 18-year stint the label was riding high, it has struggled in recent periods and is clearly as determined to make an impact through offbeat marketing as it ever was.

And there’s no denying that the modern world has as many issues to comment on creatively as the late 20th century had.

The company is also being as esoteric in its explanation of some of its ideas as it ever was. The latest naked campaign, for instance, was announced with a 500-word statement that talked about Saint Francis, racism, imperialism, globalisation, culture, violence and much more. What it didn’t mention was… fashion.

The very long campaign ethos is: “Against civil war, against the mafia and urban violence of identity, against ferocious ethnic conflict, against religious wars and fault line wars, against terrorism and against all forms of resurgent racism.”

All of which sounds pretty good to us.

We’ve been discussing inclusive, realistic casting in ad campaigns over on WGSN Insight. Read our Young Women’s Campaign Trends: Spring 2018 report for more.

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