'Roots News: Colors of Domestic Violence=fake, not Benetton ad, Salon says Feministing "punked"

Last night, I listed a link to this item on Feministing.com in my Remains of the Day. I usually check things out for myself, especially when they interest me, as this purported clothing ad that uses images of domestic violence victims did. But I couldn’t find anything on the official Benetton site or on the McCann Erickson (ad agency) site.

So I emailed the Benetton PR person and asked, can you tell me more about this campaign.

Well – I got this email back:

Dear Jill,

Thank you for you email. I would like to inform you that the images you
are refering to with the logo “Domestic Colors of Violence” are a FAKE and
are NOT an adverting campaign of Benetton Group.

The ONLY project Benetton has done on domestic violence was in 2003,
created and developed by Fabrica (Benetton’s communication research center)
and Colors Magazine (part of the publishing activities at Fabrica). Please
see the attached link for further information
http://www.benetton.com/colorspress/56/.

Thank you for contacting us.

Best regards.

Anissa Nouhi
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Anissa Nouhi
Senior Fashion Public Relations Manager
Benetton USA Corporation
601 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Tel. 212-593-0290 ext.337
Fax. 212-371-1438
anouhi@benettonusa.com

But I so trust Feministing (seriously, I really do) that it was like having bumped into a closed glass door that previously had been open: I had to do it a second time, just to be sure.

So I called Ms. Nouhi to find out, what is going on?

Here is what she told me:

We’re “well-known for the ads that we’ve done in the past and are a global company.”
“There are a lot of strange people around. As of right now, we learned about it today” from me and “from one other journalist from Salon.com who contacted me”
The ad is “not ours whatsoever – we don’t use an outside agency – our ads are done internally.”
Benetton is “investigating. I don’t know exactly what headquarters is doing right now.”
“When I got it from Salon, I was so shocked. I immediately sent it to Italy and for sure they are looking into it”
“I hope McCann Erickson [the ad agency indicated as responsible] is investigating too”
“I wish all the blogs would do the same thing you did and Salon did. Its very hard to control the information.”
“This is definitely not something that we’ve done.”
“We would have put logo on it if it was something we did and, definitely, it’s not our logo.”

Wow. All I can say, at the moment, is wow.

First of all, I’ve always trusted Feministing and this would be the first time that a very major blog (as blogs go), that I’ve decided to trust (and I’m pretty picky and am always championing that people can discriminate for themselves), ends up getting punked.

Then again, I suppose it can happen to anyone. I’ve been punked and I know I’ve punked a few people in my time (when I didn’t even mean to, no less).

So what have we learned today?

SEND AN EMAIL. PICK UP THE PHONE. Trust your instincts to question when something seems really outrageous – and in this case, the ad campaign would be outrageous and so, we have to ask, I had to ask, why – why is someone – Benetton – doing this, rather than me speculate why they are doing it or what’s good or bad about them doing it.

Because guess what?

They weren’t and aren’t doing it.

And the only way I learned that? Was by going to the, um, what do you call it?

Oh yeah.

The Source.

3 thoughts on “'Roots News: Colors of Domestic Violence=fake, not Benetton ad, Salon says Feministing "punked"

  1. I am currently consulting for a non-profit that helps at-risk women. I noticed these ads and posted on them on our blog at: http://scesnetblog.blogspot.com/I created the blog for Second Chance Employment Services because I know women that needed help and recieved assistance from this organization regardless of their race or socioeconomics. All women can become victims of domestic violence and this is a worthwhile cause. Their website is: http://www.scesnet.orgTheir offices are:Washington, DC818 18th St. N.W., Suite 420Washington, D.C. 20006PHONE: 202-331-7451TOLL-FREE: 888-331-7451FAX: 202-331-7428New York City10 East 34th Street, 3rd FloorNew York, NY 10016PHONE: 212-659-5386TOLL-FREE: 888-331-7451FAX: 212-659-5372God Bless Ludy Green, President and Founder, for making a difference!

  2. hi,i did some research on the net, the first appearance was on a russian webseite on Mai 22th.and on this site is some information that the ads are von india:Advertising Agency: McCann Erickson >> Agency Location: India >> Client/Product: Benetton >> Art Director: Denzil Machado >> Copywriter: Denzil Machado >> Photographer: Jatin Kampani >>MAX

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