1 target audience are upper class woman age 20-30

1 Introduction1.1 Dolce & Gabbana’s backgroundDolce & Gabbana (D) is founded in 1985 by Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Over the years the small firm has transformed into an international luxury fashion house. D designs, manufactures and distributes high-end apparel such as watches, footwear, clothings, leather goods, etc. (Refer to Appendix, Figure A) They have over 222 retail stores in 41 countries worldwide with their main headquarter based in Milan, Italy.1.2 2007 Controversial advertisementThis report will be discussing the 2007 “gang rape” controversy advertisement by D. Referring to Appendix, Figure B shows a controversial advertisement by D. This advertisement shows a woman being pinned on the floor by the wrist by men without clothes, together with other men surrounding her. This portrays gang rape and can be seen to support violence against women as well as offending the dignity of many women in the sense that the women in the advertisement is characterised in a degrading manner. Interestingly, this advertisement was initiated prior to the start of 16 Days of Activism, an international campaign to promote ending violence against women and girls around the world. With this advertisement, D misrepresented women as degrading, weak as well as “being subjected to man’s will” while men are powerful, dominant, callous and out for sexual conquest. Subsequently, the advertisement was banned by the authorities because of the women’s helpless position and the portraying of violence towards women.2 Application Of Integrated Marketing Communications Concept2.1 Campaign’s ObjectiveThe Spring/Summer collection, together with other collections such as the Autumn/Winter collection takes place yearly. Thus, D’s main objective of this advertisement was solely to showcase and promote their Spring/Summer clothes collection in 2007. 2.2 Target AudienceThe primary target audience are upper class woman age 20-30 whether or not they are past consumers as D&G focus on publishing the advertisement in many women’s magazine. The secondary target audience are young adults who enjoys freedom in fashion age 20-30. Reason is due to the fact that D often uses sex as their advertising appeals, so much that many of their advertisements are banned worldwide. Such sex sells appeals to this demographic much more than any other age groups. Refer to Appendix, Figure C for more examples of such advertisements.2.3 Communication Model2.3.1 SenderThe sender represents an individual/group that communicates the idea to the target audience. Regarding D’s advertisement, the sender is the company itself, Dolce & Gabbana.2.3.2 ReceiverThe receiver is anyone who is audience to the message. They can be women who came across the advertisements on magazine or other individuals that saw the advertisement on D&G’s website, newspaper or through any other promotion mix tools. To be specific, the receiver are the viewers of the advertisement.2.3.3 Encoding of the messageEncoding is when D puts together their objective for the campaign and transform it into a communicable message. In order to showcase and promote D’s Spring/Summer 2007 collection, D&G used graphics as a form of encoding. Pictures were used to showcase their ready-to-wear collection. The picture portrays a woman being pin down by a bare-chested man by her wrists, with other men surrounding and looking at them. (Refer to Appendix, Figure B)2.3.4 Problems in decodingDecoding is when the receiver views the advertisement, interpret it and come to a understanding on what it actually is delivering. There is in fact a problem in decoding in regards to this campaign. D&G uses sex appeal as their selling tool to showcase D&G’s Spring/Summer 2007 collection. However, instead of being interpreted this way, D’s campaign was misinterpreted as being supportive of “gang rape”.  Many receivers interpret the advertisement as rape being acceptable, men are compelling sexual predators or dressing in that manner as depicted in the image will create “trouble” for women.2.3.5 Channel of communication The encoded message is delivered to their target audience through different communication channels. Under non-personal communication channels, the campaign was advertised solely using print media. The advertisement has appeared in many women’s magazine and also circulated by Italy’s second largest newspaper circulator, La Repubblica. Refer to Appendix, Figure D for D&G using print media as one of their communication channel. Currently, D&G has also started adopting social media such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube as one of their communication channel.3 Creative Strategy And Promotion Mix Strategy3.1 Creative strategy & Creative tactics 3.1.1 Theme/Big IdeaThe theme of the campaign is “dream”. Dreams are thoughts, images or sensations that occur in a person’s mind. In other words, it is also known as fantasy. The company incorporated these 2 words “dream” and “fantasy” and came out with the campaign. The big idea of the poster is to instill a top-of-mind-awareness on their target audience. This is further elaborated with the advertisement depicting a scene of a young woman in a bathing suit being suppressed by a shirtless man while there are 4 other men looking at them. By bringing in the theme “dream”, together with the intention to impact its target audience through such sex sells, D not only wants to showcase their new Spring/Summer collections but also want consumers to be constantly reminded of their brand.3.1.2 Advertising AppealsAdvertising appeals used in this campaign would be emotional appeal to convey a “erotic dream” feeling to their target audience. The reason is because the advertisement was actually labelled as a “dream” to illustrate fantasy. In this case, D uses sex appeal as their main focus to capture their target audience, young adults aged 20-30. The reason for the use of sex appeal is justified as this appeal to its target audience is more than other age groups. 3.1.3 Execution StylesD uses imagery as the execution style of their message. This execution style is used in the campaign through showing of visual image as seen in Figure B.3.2 Promotion Mix StrategyThe promotional mix tool D used is advertisement and public relations. The 2007 controversial campaign was solely advertised through print media such as magazines and newspaper (Advertisement) and their company official website (Public Relations). During their launched of their Spring/Summer 2007 ready-to-wear collection, social media was not very prominent back then. Only recently, D then started to use social media such as Twitter and Youtube as one of their commonly used social media tool. Their campaign has also been featured in top magazines like the Vogue as well as Italy’s top newspaper circulator, La Repubblica. But the advertisements regarding the 2007 Spring/Summer collection was removed as the campaign was deemed humiliating and degrading to women. Similarly, the same advertisements on D&G’s official website was taken down. However, broadcast media such as television ads are also used as form of D’s overall promotion mix strategy. An example would be the “2013 light blue fragrance” advertisement. 4 Media Mix Strategy4.1 Advertisement (Magazines)After determining the primary target audience to be females age 20-30, and secondary target audience to be young adults aged 20-30 as well, D&G media mix strategy is to use young adults magazine as a form of advertising to reach out to their target audience. D&G advertise using famous magazines that are popular with this age group such as Paranama, Marie Claire and Vogue. Frequency of magazine advertising is every 1 month, however certain magazines like Paranama is published every week instead. This shows how much D&G target audience is being exposed to their advertisement.4.2 Advertisement (Newspapers)Newspapers, bring relatively cheap, serves as the most inexpensive way for D&G to advertise their campaign. Furthermore, frequency of newspaper is daily. This means that target audience are more likely to be exposed to newspaper then magazine. Examples of newspapers D&G advertise in is LaRepubblica.4.3 Social MediaD&G also uses communication channels through social media such as facebook to advertise the D&G Spring/Summer Collection 2007. However, due to public critics and complaints, the post was taken down within a week. Other social medias such as Twitter or Instagram were not available during the launched of the collection. 5 EthicsD&G has a history of coming up with controversial advertisements that portrays sexual acts which differs from what the mainstream society regards as acceptable sexual practices. Advertisement includes sadomasochistic pictures of women wielding knife, mistresses and slaves, bathroom orgies as well as homosexual theme. Some might argue that it is legal, but others might question if it is actually ethically correct for the above-mentioned advertisement. One of the clear marketing communication ethics that was breached in the D&G’s Spring/Summer collection 2007 advertisement was the stereotyping towards woman. By portraying a woman being pin down by her wrist by a man, many suggests that it was actually a stereotype of “Man have authority over woman, Man is superior compared to woman”. This sparked lots of debates and controversy over whether the advertisement was using “dreams” together with sex appeal as their main focus to promote the collection or was it to promote sexual violence/dominance instead. 6 RecommendationsControversial advertisement being portrayed as inappropriate or offensive is consistently used in various countries and this points out the need to measure the impact of such advertisements on consumers. Although the campaign has helped D increased sales over the past few years, but ethic wise, it is damaging its company reputation. Firms should take into consideration which types of advertising appeals coupled with various message execution style will offend the consumers. With that, here are 2 recommendations to improve and add value to the existing campaign.6.1 Be more gender sensitiveThe 2007 campaign portrayed the women being degrading, and generally depicts a scene of a “gang rape”. Thus, sparking many debates and public criticism. Many might say that through such advertisements, sales of D are still gradually increasing. However, the loss on loyal customers are not taken into account. Customers who thinks that such advertisements are offensive might boycott the firm, refraining from buying D’s product. Previous controversial advertisement by D&G caused music icon, Elton John to comment: “Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again.” Figure E shows other examples of brand boycotting  Therefore, my recommendation is to be more gender sensitive. D&G can still use sex appeal as their advertising appeal, but get all the models standing up. The woman can be standing tall with pride in the middle and the men will be standing beside the woman. This represents men and women to be of equal power and dominance.6.2 Direct marketing D&G has not ventured into using direct marketing to promote its product. One way D&G can start is to collect email address of their current customers and send personalized email as well as catalog when its their next Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter. Using this form of promotion mix tool is actually better than creating more controversial advertisements to get unnecessary criticism. Overall, this can improve and add value to the existing campaign