Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

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Publication Source

Media, Culture & Society





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Over the years, the Benetton Company has repeatedly created controversy with flamboyant advertising campaigns, provocative statements and graphic pictures – what Giroux (1994: 21) described as ‘hyperventilating realism’ – on global social issues such as AIDS, war, politics, race, religion (Tinic, 1997) and, most recently, capital punishment. In effect, Benetton advertising campaigns have become a unique ‘[form] of global communication and a significant site of cultural production’ (Tinic, 1997: 4). In this paper we analyze Benetton’s 2000 ‘We on Death Row’ campaign as a site of cultural production where ideological differences between the United States and Europe are played out. More specifically, we examine the mass-mediated public discourse framing the campaign in the so-called prestige press in the United States. We examine on the discursive boundaries surrounding imported cultural forms like the Benetton advertisements, and, using the Gramscian concept of hegemony, focus on how these boundaries are established through the use of media frames. Our analysis will also demonstrate that transnational advertising is a discursive space where international relations are played out.

Copyright/Permission Statement

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Media, Culture & Society, vol. 25 no. 2, 2003, © SAGE Publications, Inc., 2003 at the Media, Culture & Society page: on SAGE Journals Online:


NOTE: At the time of publication, author Marwan Kraidy was affiliated with the American University. Currently(March 2013), he is a faculty member at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.



Date Posted: 29 March 2013