Research Paper: Benetton's AIDS Awareness Campaign

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[. . .] Level 2: Redefining the Scope of Marketing Communication

This level is supposed to look in more detail and use the recipient's perspectives. It means better understanding what the recipients think about age. From what was previously described in the paper, most of them are either ignorant or prejudiced. For them, AIDS is a disease that exists only in marginal communities, such as the gay community. So, the idea for this level is to have a better perception about recipient behavior, as a first step to turn this around in a future and use consumer knowledge to support the campaign.

Level 3: Application of Information Technology

The use of information technology today is essential for any integrated marketing communication, primarily because this technology allows the message to be distributed, in a fast and comprehensive manner, to all the recipients. The application of information technology for this campaign could start (and it has) with the use of software applications such as Photoshop in order to color the photo that was initially done in black and white. The impact is thus much stronger.

Subsequently, traditional social network instruments should be used. These include Facebook and Twitter, but also applications that are more customized to deal with photos, such as Instagram or Pinterest. Having the photo on these social networking platforms will allow individuals to interact and discuss it at much lower costs for the promoters of the campaign.

Finally, the photo could also be associated with a website where information related to AIDS can be presented. This type of website would actually be an extrapolation of something previously mentioned, namely having short, bulleted information about the disease. The website could be the location to find more comprehensive information.

Level 4: Financial and Strategic Integration

This final level involves using the recipient's knowledge and insights in order to continue the communication campaign and to take things further. It is basically the phase where the recipients become more and more involved, not only in becoming involved, but in raising awareness themselves, in ensuring that new categories of individuals learn about AIDS. This level is also important because it ensures that the process is a continuous one: with new individuals joining the campaign, the message is carried on and grows in exposure.

Entities to support the campaign

There are two essential entities that will support the campaign: David Kirby's family and NGOs specialized in raising awareness about AIDS. This section will discuss how each of these entities can help and be involved in the campaign, so that the most important objectives of the campaign, previously proposed, can be reached.

The family is perhaps the most important entity from which the campaign can draw benefits. First of all, they are the one that approved that the photo be distributed to the public and, even more, that it be made the focal point of the awareness campaign. One needs to point out again that this is a very personal moment, it shows their son dying. The fact that they would allow him to be shown in this state is, in itself, a great benefit to the campaign, particularly since it shows that the family is backing this.

The latter argument is very important because, without that, Benetton simply looks like a company trying to improve its own image with the help of campaigns such as this one. Without the family, Benetton lacks the credibility it needs to have this photo as part of its campaign for awareness about AIDS. Benetton appears too commercial to be credible.

The family can actually be involved much more than this (and, in reality, they were). They can participate in different events where they can talk about their sons drama, where they can relate to other activists and other families whose sons have or had AIDS. The family came out very strongly to say that it was not Benetton that used them, but it was rather them who used Benetton, in the sense that they were able to use the company's successful channels of communication in order to pass on their message, show their son's suffering and raise awareness about the disease.

The family could become involved on the all four levels of the advertising strategy, as previously discussed and proposed. Beyond awareness, they can talk more about their experience (including from a strictly informational point-of-view, such as treatment, medication, psychological challenges etc.). This can raise interest and they family can be proactive into getting other individuals involved in desire and action.

Conclusions and recommendations

This paper clearly identified the targeted segment of the population for this campaign, the powerful communicative value of the photo itself, as a way of appealing to the mentioned category and the advertising instruments to promote the message. It has also focused on the objectives of the campaign and of how to reach these.

When it came to the communication campaign, there seem to be two categories of tools available: mainstream communication and new technology. The mainstream communication includes tools such as banners, brochures, booklets -- all aiming to present information and publicize this with the public, so that the goal (raising awareness) is met.

The new technologies offer a lot more directions. Social networking platforms and the possibility to work on the photo and to upload it on a website, with all the related potential opportunities related to creating a platform for information around the photo on the website are all actions that can be undertaken within the campaign.

As seen, the goal of this campaign is to raise awareness, with diversified aims, including to have people more knowledgeable about the disease and to have people ill with AIDS come out of a socially imposed isolation. The way this campaign chose to pas on the message was by sending a powerful message of love, forgiveness, compassion aimed to appeal to people's subconscious. The underlying common denominator was that, no matter what the people's prejudices about AIDS and about the gay community, in the end, the things that people treasured were pretty much the same: the family, the individual in a family and community context, symbols such as Christ, love etc.

The photo is focal to the entire campaign, because it is itself an instrument of communication. Even without a campaign and a marketing strategy, the photo could, to some degree, sell itself. The idea of the campaign is to build around this, to provide information and to attract volunteers in future campaigns and in the fight against the disease. Building on the photo means adding information in brochures and over the Internet, providing an adequate technology platform to reach out to the audience and use all these tools for the proposed objectives.

Some of the reactions are negative, including because of the religious background and message. The idea is to use even this negative reactions to support the campaign: the Pieta, after all, is not as much a Catholic symbol as it is a symbol of paternal love and of grief from the mother (father in this case) for the lost son.


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3. Kubacka, Natalia, (2012). Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. Thesis - CENTRIA UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES THE YLIVIESKA UNIT. Degree Program in Industrial Management

4. Macleod, Duncan, (2007). Benetton Pieta in AIDS campaign. The Inspiration Room… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Benetton's AIDS Awareness Campaign.  (2014, March 21).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Benetton's AIDS Awareness Campaign."  21 March 2014.  Web.  17 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Benetton's AIDS Awareness Campaign."  March 21, 2014.  Accessed July 17, 2019.