Fashion giant Benetton claims campaign totally fake
An advertisement featuring models snorting a white dress as if it were cocaine is causing an online fashion frenzy, but the company purported to be marketing itself claims the campaign is completely fake.
The image shows two women in glamorous outfits holding straws in a manner associated with inhaling drugs, appearing to be sniffing an outfit lying next to a small pile of white powder on a table top. The superimposed caption has the words "Sisley" and "Fashion Junkie," with the word "Fashion" actually misspelled as "Fashioin."
Sisley, which has been known for sexually provocative ads in the past, is a division of clothing giant Benetton.
Fashion-related sites across the Internet have been flooded with comments about the image.
"For the love of God! I have a 17-year-old daughter and it just kills me to think that she would see this ad or any other ad like this anywhere," writes Sandra Lynch in an online blog. "This is sick and twisted."
"I believe in freedom of advertising," said Bill Muckler, "but, I certainly would never buy, or sanction the use of, any of their products."
But Benetton claims the company is a victim in this case.
"In the recent days, images which are told to be part of the new Sisley advertising campaign have been published," says an official statement on its website.
"One of these images shows some girls 'sniffing a vest.' The allusion to drugs and alcohol is more than clear. We would like to clearly state that the Sisley brand (and the Benetton company) has nothing to do with these images and therefore we refuse to be linked with them."
It also says whoever is responsible could face legal action.
"These images infringe Benetton's rights in the Sisley trademark. Our legal department has therefore been retained to take all advisable actions to protect the company's rights and interests."
Benetton is no stranger to controversy with advertising, as it came under fire just before the turn of the century with a campaign featuring convicted murderers, which some called "United Killers of Benetton," playing off the company's slogan of "United Colors of Benetton."