Contemporary Issues in Marketing Dolce & Gabbana 'Knifing' AdsIntroductionThis short essay explores a contemporary issue in international business marketing, with Dolce & Gabbana, Italian high-end fashion designers being the choice brand of analysis. A few years ago, Dolce & Gabbana launched an international print advertising campaign targeting the stylish youth with novel dressing styles. To market the brand to this market niche across Europe and the USA, Dolce & Gabbana developed a set of print ads featuring young models posing with brandished knife with some of them lying doing seemingly dead after being stabbed (Campblell 2007).
These ads came to be known as the ‘knifing ads’ in the resultant media and public uproar about the taste of the ads, specifically in promoting violence and sexual pervasion (i. e. rape) (Taylor 2007). The concern of this paper is in the public relations crises that the poor reception of the knifing ads created and how Dolce & Gabbana, the brand in this case, managed that crisis in respect to ideal marketing protocols in contemporary practice. This is the issue chosen for analysis in this essay, with the objective being exploring what brand caused the issue to spill over public debate forums, how it reacted to the issue versus how it should ideally have acted and reacted.
The essay relies heavily on literature reviews to establish a theoretical basis on which the marketing issue identified above can be contextualized, analyzed and evaluated. While also incorporating the criticism published on the issue in various media, marketing and public relations theories as postulated by the available literature will be used to critique the brand’s response to the issue and to recommend how the resultant crises should have been handled. The paper is organized in three progressive and interrelated sections beginning with an explanation and brief review of the issue under analysis as well as the interpolations it triggered from critics.
Secondly, the paper will provide a brief review of how Dolce & Gabbana reacted to and managed the Public Relations crises resultant from the knifing ads poor reception. The paper will then provide theoretical analysis of the issue based on the available literature in the contemporary crises management and advertising practices as part of public relations and international business marketing disciplines.
Finally the paper will terminate with a viable conclusion and recommendations on the issues raised throughout the paper. The Recall of ‘Knifing' Ads from Dolce & Gabbana Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian high-end fashion house, featured an advertising campaign starting late 2006 to market their youthful and stylish lines (Campbell 2007). The print ad campaign was originally created by one of their staff, Miles Cal Craft Briginshaw Duffy (Campbell 2007). Most of the now famous knifing ads presumably featured the aftermath of knifing scenes and sometimes with naked and bare-chested women being part of the ads (Campbell 2007).
The ads had an element of gang violence, gang rape and wanton immorality according to the complaints received from France, Italy, Britain and Spain (Taylor 2007; Payne 2007). Consequently, D& G had to recall all the ads placed across Europe and attempt to repair a soiled brand image.