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Benetton Group

Coordinates: 45°42′29″N 12°13′05″E / 45.7081087°N 12.2179756°E / 45.7081087; 12.2179756
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45°42′29″N 12°13′05″E / 45.7081087°N 12.2179756°E / 45.7081087; 12.2179756

Benetton Group
Company typeSocietà a responsabilità limitata (s.r.l.)
Founded1965; 59 years ago (1965) in Ponzano Veneto, Italy
FounderLuciano Benetton
Carlo Benetton
Gilberto Benetton
Giuliana Benetton
Area served
Key people
  • Luciano Benetton (Executive Chairman)
  • Massimo Renon (Chief Executive Officer) Ian Clarke (UK franchise operator)
Number of employees
1,500 (2020)
United Colors of Benetton in Parma, Italy
United Colors of Benetton in Prague, Czech Republic
United Colors of Benetton in Belgrade, Serbia

Benetton Group S.r.l. (Italian pronunciation: [benetˈton])[1] is a global fashion brand based in Ponzano Veneto, Italy, founded in 1965. Benetton Group has a network of about 5,000 stores worldwide.[2] It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Benetton family's holding company Edizione.


In 1965, the Benettons opened their first store in Belluno, in the Veneto northern region of Italy[3] and three years after in Paris. The company's core business consists of clothing brands United Colors of Benetton[4] and Sisley.[5]

Benetton was an iconic brand in the 1980s and 1990s, but has since struggled to regain this position. In 2000, it ranked 75th in Interbrand's ranking of the best global brands; however, by 2002, it had dropped out of the list.[6]

In 2012, Benetton Group was delisted from the stock exchange and is now a fully owned subsidiary of the Benetton family company Edizione holding.[7]

In 2017, the group posted a loss of €180 million.[8] Prompted by the heavy losses, Luciano Benetton, who was then 83 years old, returned from retirement as Executive Chairman for the brand.[9]

Revival efforts also included appointing French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac as artistic director and re-appointing photographer Oliviero Toscani.[10] As of 2020, United Colors of Benetton has 1,500 employees and uses 25,000 workers through subcontractors.[11] In March 2020, Massimo Renon was named CEO of the company.[12]

On May 25, 2024, Luciano Benetton announced that the group had a loss of 100 million and accused Massimo Renon and other executives of mismanagement.[13]


Benetton is known for its sports sponsorships, and for its "United Colors" advertising campaign. In 1982, Benetton hired Oliviero Toscani as creative director, which led to a change in advertising focus towards raising awareness for various issues worldwide.[14] In 1984, Toscani photographed the first multiracial ad for the brand.[3]

In 1989, Toscani refocused Benetton's advertising strategy under the "United Colors of Benetton" campaign. The campaign's graphic, billboard-sized ads depicted a variety of shocking subjects, including the deathbed scene of a man (AIDS activist David Kirby) dying from AIDS.[15] Another ad featured a bloodied, unwashed newborn baby with umbilical cord still attached. The newborn ad prompted roughly 650 complaints to the British Advertising Standards Authority, which noted in its 1991 annual report that the Benetton baby ad "attracted more complaints than we have ever previously known."[16] A third ad included a black stallion copulating with a white mare,[17] while a fourth advert showed a light-skinned girl with blond hair hugging a dark-skinned boy whose hair was shaped into devil horns.[18]

In 2000, Benetton was included in the reference publication Guinness World Records for the "Most Controversial Campaign".[19]

In November 2011, Benetton created the UNHATE Foundation, launching a worldwide communication campaign described as an invitation to leaders and citizens of the world to combat the "culture of hatred".[20] Benetton claimed the campaign was created to serve as its corporate social responsibility strategy.[21] The UNHATE poster series uses altered images of political and religious leaders, such as then-President of the United States Barack Obama and Hugo Chávez, then President of Venezuela, kissing each other.[22][23] Following Vatican protests, Benetton removed an ad purportedly showing Pope Benedict XVI kissing Ahmed Mohamed el Tayeb, the imam of Egypt's Al Azhar mosque.[24][25][26]

Benetton won the Press Grand Prix at the 2012 Cannes Ad festival for its Unhate campaign.[27][28]

In November 2017, Benetton launched a campaign in collaboration with Devbhumi, a company owned by rural women from India's remote Uttarakhand region. The initiative claimed to have empowered more than 6,000 rural women artisans in India.[29][30]

In 2019, Benetton Group announced it would be hosting one of the four days of talks and presentations which makes up the 88th annual International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) congress.[31]

Sport and sponsorship[edit]

Benetton Group entered Formula One as a sponsor of Tyrrell in 1983, then Alfa Romeo in 1984; this arrangement was extended to both Alfa and Toleman in 1985. Benetton Formula Ltd. was formed at the end of 1985 when the Toleman and Spirit teams were sold to the Benetton family. The team saw its greatest success under Flavio Briatore, who managed the team from 1990 to 1997. Michael Schumacher won his first Drivers' Championships with the team in 1994 and 1995, and the team won their only Constructors' title in 1995. From 1996, the team raced under an Italian licence, although it continued to be based, like Toleman, in Oxfordshire in England. The team was bought by Renault for US$120 million in 2000 and was rebranded Renault F1 in 2002.

In 1979, Benetton first sponsored their (then amateur) local rugby team, A.S. Rugby Treviso. Benetton Rugby has since become a major force in Italian rugby, with 11 league titles and supplying many players to the national team.[32] Benetton Group has also sponsored Treviso Basket (1982–2012) and Sisley Volley (1987–2012).


In 1991, Edizone Holding International, a Benetton subsidiary, bought Compañía de Tierras del Sud Argentino S. A. and became the largest private landowner in Argentina after taking over the land the company had inherited from the 19th century Conquest of the Desert.[33] Benetton has faced criticism, particularly from Mapuche organizations, over its ownership and management of traditional Mapuche lands in Patagonia.[34] In 1997, Benetton invested in a museum in Leleque which presented the Mapuche as migrants from Chile, which was interpreted as an attempt to diminish the Mapuche's traditional claims.[35] The Curiñanco-Nahuelquir family was evicted from their land in 2002 following Benetton's claim to it, but the land was restored in 2007.[36] The company published a position statement regarding the Mapuche in Patagonia in 2012.[37] Protests and occupations began again in 2015. Activist Santiago Maldonado was last seen being evicted by the Argentine National Gendarmerie from the disputed area in August 2017.[38] His body was found two months later.[39]

Benetton aroused suspicion when they considered using RFID tracking chips on clothes to monitor inventory. A boycott site alleges the tracking chips "can be read from a distance and used to monitor the people wearing them."[40] Issues of consumer privacy were raised, and the plan was shelved. Benetton's position on RFID technology is also available on their website.[41]

PETA launched a boycott campaign against Benetton for buying wool from farmers who practiced mulesing. Benetton has since agreed to buy nonmulesed wool and has further urged the wool industry to adopt the PETA and Australian Wool Growers Association agreement to end mulesing.[42] Benetton's position statement on the mulesing controversy is available on their website.[43]

Building collapse at Savar[edit]

On 24 April 2013, the eight-storey Rana Plaza commercial building collapsed outside Dhaka. It housed one of the factories in which Benetton clothing was made.[44] At least 1,130 people died.[45] Benetton first denied reports linking production of their clothing at the factory, but clothes and documents linked to Benetton were discovered at the disaster site.[46][47][48] Of the 29 brands identified as having sourced products from the Rana Plaza factories, only nine attended meetings held in November 2013 to agree a proposal on compensation to the victims. Several companies refused to sign including Walmart, Carrefour, Bonmarché, Mango, Auchan and Kik. The agreement was signed by Primark, Loblaw, Bonmarche and El Corte Ingles.[49] A year after the collapse, Benetton faced international protests after failing to pay any compensation to the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund.[50][51] Protests included shutting down Benetton's flagship Oxford Street store in London.[52]

In April 2015, Benetton Group announced that it has doubled compensation for Rana Plaza victims recommended by independent assessors (PWC AND WRAP) and applied the principles of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety to global suppliers. Benetton's engagement for Bangladesh is available on their website.[53]

Position on the Russia-Ukraine war[edit]

According to a study by Yale University, which analyzes the exit of foreign companies from the Russian market, Benetton group received the worst grade "F", which indicates that the company has not taken any steps to exit the Russian market and operates there with "business as usual".[54] Meanwhile, the Changing Markets Foundation found evidence that the Benetton group uses Russian oil for its polyester products and is the only company investigated that does both: uses Russian oil for its products and remains on the Russian market.[55]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DOP". Dizionario.rai.it. Archived from the original on 11 July 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  2. ^ "At a glance". Benetton Group. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b Brady, Donald L. (18 December 2014). Essentials of International Marketing. Routledge. ISBN 9781317471202.
  4. ^ "United Colors of Benetton". Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Sisley". Sisley. 21 February 2012. Archived from the original on 29 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  6. ^ Hill, Andrew (29 October 2018). "From visionary to old hat: how Benetton fell out of fashion". www.ft.com. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Italy's Benetton group names new boss to help revive brand". Reuters. Reuters. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Benetton to Open Up Numerous Stores Around the World". Fashion United. 29 April 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Benetton more than just brightly coloured pullovers". France 24. 17 August 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  10. ^ "United Colors of Benetton Tests a US Comeback". Fashion United. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  11. ^ How McKinsey Destroyed the Middle Class The Atlantic, Daniel Markovits, 3 February 2020
  12. ^ "Benetton appoints new CEO three years after Luciano comeback". www.themds.com. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Benetton in crisi: perdita operativa da 100 milioni e piano di rilancio". ilsole24ore.com. ilsole24ore.com. 26 May 2024. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  14. ^ "Benetton". adage.com. 15 September 2003. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  15. ^ "The Photo That Brought AIDS Home". Archived from the original on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  16. ^ "The Advertising Standards Authority Annual Report". 30 January 1992. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  17. ^ "El caso de Benetton". PERIODISMO DE MARCA. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Benetton Advertising Campaign". Getty Images. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  19. ^ Baroncini-Moe, Susan (2013). Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style. United States: Sound Wisdom. p. 76. ISBN 978-1937879228.
  20. ^ Benetton Group (16 November 2011). "UNHATE worldwide campaign". Benetton Group. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  21. ^ "The UNHATE project". Benetton Group. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  22. ^ Wells, Jane (16 November 2011). "Why Is President Obama Kissing Hugo Chavez?". CNBC. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  23. ^ Rajghatta, Chidanand (16 November 2011). "Benetton jolts world with 'unhate' advertisement showing world leaders in liplock". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
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  26. ^ The Associated Press (16 November 2011). "Benetton pulls ad with Pope kissing imam". CBC. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
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  28. ^ "Benetton 'Unhate' Campaign, Featuring World Leaders Kissing, Wins Cannes Ad Festival Award". Huffington Post. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  29. ^ "Fashion brand aims to empower over 6,000 women weavers". Archived from the original on 14 November 2017.
  30. ^ Maverick, Martins (14 November 2017). "Benetton collaborates with Devbhumi for special scarves collection". FashionNetwork.com. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  31. ^ Styles, David. "Benetton Group opens doors to IWTO Congress". Ecotextile News. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  32. ^ "Benetton Rugby – Storia" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 14 April 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2008.
  33. ^ "Benetton in Patagonia – the Oppression of Mapuche in the Argentine South".
  34. ^ "The Invisible Colours of Benetton – Campaign". Retrieved 7 April 2008.
  35. ^ "The privatization of Patagonia". August 2006.
  36. ^ "Recovered Mapuche territory in Patagonia: Benetton vs. Mapuche". MAPU Association. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2008.
  37. ^ "Benetton's position regarding the Mapuche in Patagonia". Archived from the original on 25 June 2012.
  38. ^ "Argentina activist missing after indigenous people evicted from Benetton land". TheGuardian.com. 8 August 2017.
  39. ^ "Argentina: Missing protester Santiago Maldonado found dead; activist supported Mapuche indigenous peoples' claim to Benetton-owned land – Business & Human Rights Resource Centre". Business-humanrights.org. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  40. ^ "Boycott Benetton". Archived from the original on 9 March 2005. Retrieved 7 April 2008.
  41. ^ "Benetton's position on RFID technology". Archived from the original on 25 June 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  42. ^ "Campaign ends". PETA Save the Sheep! campaign. Archived from the original on 6 November 2005. Retrieved 7 April 2008.
  43. ^ "Benetton's position regarding the controversy on mulesing between the Australian Wool Industry and PETA". Archived from the original on 25 June 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  44. ^ Ahmed, Saeed; Lakhani, Leone (14 June 2013), "Bangladesh building collapse: An end to recovery efforts, a promise of a new start", CNN, retrieved 16 December 2013
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  46. ^ "Benetton denies to have any involvement with Bangladesh factory in their Tweet".
  47. ^ Cohn, Emily (29 April 2013). "Benetton Denies Ties To Deadly Bangladesh Factory, But Its Shirts Were Found In The Rubble: Quartz (PHOTOS)". Huffington Post.
  48. ^ "Bangladesh factory collapse death toll rises above 1,000".
  49. ^ Ovi, Ibrahim Hossain (2013), Buyers' compensation for Rana Plaza victims far from reality, archived from the original on 25 March 2016, retrieved 16 December 2013
  50. ^ Tichborne, Beth (26 April 2014). "Benetton stores targeted by global protests". Indymedia UK.
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  52. ^ Kilcooley-O'Halloran, Scarlett (25 April 2014). "Benetton Rana Plaza Protests". Vogue.
  53. ^ "Benetton Group – Corporate Website".
  54. ^ "Over 1,000 Companies Have Curtailed Operations in Russia—But Some Remain | Yale School of Management". som.yale.edu. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  55. ^ "Dressed to Kill: Fashion brands' hidden links to Russian oil in a time of war • Changing Markets". Changing Markets. Retrieved 21 April 2024.

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