Olivieri Toscani is most well-known as the in-house photographer for Benetton. Think bloody picture of babys getting born. Think AIDS patient surrounded by grieving family members. Think black woman breastfeeding a white baby. His relationship with Benetton began in 1982 and the development of its corporate image has won him many awards including 'Grand Prix d'Affichage, the UNESCO Grand Prix and the Art Directors Club of New York's Management Medal*.

During the late nineties I worked at Benetton selling sweaters for about a year. When the horses mating campaign came out, we were all called to a meeting about how to explain the advertising to people coming into the store. Official directive from head-office: all employees must understand what the intent of the art is, read a small article explaining the piece and to have a meeting to discuss the ad among eachother.

  1. Displaying art so anyone who has a magazine can access it
  2. Encouraging discussion and debate
  3. Having people to explain the intent one-on-one if there are any questions

Compared to having paintings hanging in a distant gallery and selected by a bunch of diplomats, what a better way to disseminate art and ideas.

Toscani was born in Milan and now lives in Tuscany with his wife and three children.

*www.ad-lines.com

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