Do you remember the controversy surrounding United Colors of Benetton ads?

(I haven't seen too many lately, but remember seeing a lot in, say, the 90s.)

Anyway, one of our articles for class recently discussed how some people found it incredibly offensive that Benetton tried to turn a profit by publishing a number of ads that neglected to show any products and instead focused on often shocking imagery portraying health, sexual, racial (etc.) issues affecting the world.

Others were impressed with the ads due to the awareness that was brought to some of these important issues. Many others yet wished Benetton would have taken it a step further and actually promoted ways in which people could take action, instead of just merely posting a shocking picture.

What are your thoughts? Should advertisements have to show the product that they sell? Or do you think it's a wider issue that brings branding and imaging to a higher level that stresses the importance of sharing norms and ideals with one's customer base?

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