" You need to seize the moment
and provoke the audience, because this is what makes the product
in the end. "





"40 Years of Photography and Communication"
Zagreb, May 8, 2007

Lecture selection - 1
Lecture selection - 2

Oliviero Toscani, creative author of Benetton's advertising campaigns, world class photographer, communicator, editor and designer, held a lecture at the "40 Years of Photography and Communication" symposium, organized by Val kulture agency on May 8, in the Antunovic hotel in Zagreb.

The lecture was attended by a number of distinguished marketing communications experts from Croatia and the region. Croatia's largest business school - VERN - also took part in this project.

Oliviero Toscani's works have always generated big publicity and divided the public in evaluating his way of conveying the communication message. While some considered the shocking visual solutions as bad taste and over-the-top, others loudly applauded him on a direct and efficient message he was conveying through the most common subjects (racial equality, religion, sickness and war) of his works.

There is still no accord in the public whether Toscani lead some sort of a crusade, or he strategically sought the most shocking formula for raising Benetton's sales. He admitted he was exploiting, but he wanted to exploit in the right way and out of the right reasons. He went on saying that advertising can be art sometime, but that art is always advertising, which is the strongest form of communication. In one interview he said that most advertisements are forgotten right away, good advertisement after six months, but people still remembered Benetton's ads on which a priest is kissing a nun, black women breastfeeding a white child, people with Down Syndrome, identical hearts of three men of different races, a dying AIDS patient, bloody uniform of the Croatian soldier, death row inmates (which he believes to be his best work during his 18 years in Benetton), and he believed this is where immortality lies.

In the period between 1982 and 2000 he made the United Colors of Benetton one of the most famous brands in the world, and defined a recognizable identity and efficient communications strategy for the company. He also came up with Playlife, Benetton's athletic clothing line, and initiated and edited Colors, the first global magazine, making it an eminent magazine published in eight editions and seven languages. He founded and managed Fabrica, international research center for the art of modern communications, and his works won many awards, including: 4 Golden Lions at the Cannes festival, Unesco's Grand Prix, 2 Grand Prix d'affichage, and a several Art Director Club awards.

Today, after over three decades of innovation in editing, advertising, market communications, film and television, Toscani focused his creative and communications experience to seeking new expressions for various media. Together with the Toscana Region he founded the new research center for modern communications, called La Sterpaia.

Apart from giving a lecture at the symposium, on May 7 Toscani attended the diploma ceremony at the VERN school, where he addressed the graduates, thus introducing them to the world of business.

Toscani's lecture generated many questions and comments by the audience, which only confirms the great appeal of this event.