Benetton backlash over boys only children’s clothing ad

By John Glenday | Reporter

June 12, 2017 | 3 min read

Benetton is stoking fresh umbrage after a new children’s clothing advert employing three boys captioned ‘Sorry ladies. Girls not allowed!’

The ‘sexist’ piece drew immediate criticism from parents and a subsequent apology on Benetton’s Instagram account amidst accusations that the Italian fashion house was excluding girls from wearing its wares.

Benetton Boys Only campaign

Benetton in hot water with Boys Only Instagram campaign

Sorry ladies. Girls not allowed! #SS17 #Benetton #kids

A post shared by United Colors of Benetton (@benetton) on

Addressing its critics via a follow-up Instagram message Benetton wrote: “We're very sorry that our message struck the wrong chord with some of you. We only meant to be playful in this post, and we apologise if we have unintentionally offended anyone. We certainly did not intend it to be sexist.”

The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

Sign up

The fashion house is currently promoting its SS17 collection with a relatively straight campaign, having ditched the so-called ‘shockvertising’ for which it had become famous.

Benetton has in fact adopted a more inclusive stance in recent months, including a celebration of racial diversity in ‘The Face of the City’ campaign and a long-running female empowerment programme launched in 2015.


More from Advertising

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +