Olivero Toscani, the creative director and photographer behind
Benetton’s controversial advertising campaigns, has split with the
company after 18 years.
Toscani’s most recent work featured photographs of 26 convicts on Death
Row. The campaign, which broke in January, caused outrage around the
world and lost Benetton a lucrative contract with the US department
store chain Sears Roebuck.
Benetton has yet to face a lawsuit from the state of Missouri, which
claims it was deceived by the law professor who arranged Toscani’s Death
Benetton released a statement thanking the photographer for his
’fundamental contribution to the ’new’ advertising’ but failed to give a
reason for his departure.
Advertising for Benetton will now be handled by the company’s
communications research centre, Fabrica.
The Italian clothing manufacturer has not yet decided whether to replace
Toscani’s statement was similarly enigmatic. The photographer said:
’Nothing is for ever. It’s good to have the courage to end something
that was fantastic and still have the enthusiasm to take on new
He is expected to concentrate on his role as creative director of Tina
Brown’s US-based Talk magazine.
Benetton, which has never hired an advertising agency, spends less than
pounds 1 million a year on advertising in the UK, but its press and
poster campaigns provoke enough controversy to earn the company vast
amounts of publicity through press coverage.
Previous Benetton campaigns have featured images of a dying Aids victim,
the blood-stained uniform of a dead soldier and a new-born baby still
covered in amniotic fluid, with its umbilical chord intact.