Benetton Group, Arm - HIV


In a controversial trend that may have started among gay men in Seattle, Benetton depicts a muscleman's arm tattooed with the words "HIV positive."

By far the most controversial ad from an already controversial advertiser, another ad depicting AIDS activist David Kirby surrounded by his family on his death bed was published in LIFE magazine, and brought strong reactions worldwide.

Benetton says Kirby's parents gave "permission and encouragement" to create the ad.

According to Benetton, "In some countries such as Paraguay this was the very first campaign to talk about AIDS, and in many countries it was the first campaign to go beyond purely preventative measures and touch upon subjects such as solidarity with AIDS patients."

The ad was part of a sustained campaign about AIDS and safer sex that began in 1991 with a colorful picture of condoms and the distribution of condoms in Benetton stores.

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User Comments
Nikola Scott
I have been studying Benetton for a while for my English GSCE coursework. The more I research them and the more quotes I find defending these images, the more I hate them. Sure it is good that they have raised awareness of issues such as AIDS but do they have to use it for exploitation to sell jumpers? As Oliviero Toscani (the man who creates the images) said, "We are, in terms of advertising strategy, rasing brand consciousness." This company makes me sick.