" writeme += "

" writeme += "" writeme += "" writeme += "" writeme += "

" playme.document.write(writeme); playme.document.close(); if((navigator.appName == "Netscape") && (navigator.appVersion.substring(0,1) >= "3")) {playme.focus();} if((navigator.appName == "Microsoft Internet Explorer") && (navigator.appVersion.substring(0,1) >= "4")) {playme.focus();} if (playme.opener == null) { playme.opener = self; } } function play(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall) { var cm=GetCookie("playbar"); if (cm != null) { //if (cm=="nh" && neth=="t") { cm="hi.asx"; //if(aol||nstr||iebug) { //} else { // showvid('asf',vid+cm); //} } else { if (cm=="nh" && neth!="t") { this.sec=1; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="nl" && netl=="t") { cm="lo.asx"; //if(aol||nstr||iebug) { //} else { // showvid('asf',vid+cm); //} } else { if (cm=="nl" && netl!="t") { this.sec=1; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="rh" && realh=="t") { cm="hi.rmm"; if(aol||iebug) { } else { showvid('rm',vid+cm); } } else { if (cm=="rh" && realh!="t") { this.sec=2; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="rl" && reall=="t") { cm="lo.rmm"; if(aol||iebug) { } else { showvid('rm',vid+cm); } } else { if (cm=="rl" && reall!="t") { this.sec=2; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } } window.onerror = MSIE; // -->

Wed, Jun 21, 2000
real time quotes your portfolio registration help
biz bulletin
Top Performers
Top Perfomers
  Stock of the Day
Tip of the Day
Launch Live Ticker
Fox News Home

Indices Chart
Click on index
for more information
Sears Cuts Ties to Benetton Over
Controversial Death Row Ads

By Tammy Webber   Associated Press
CHICAGO — Sears, Roebeuck and Co. severed ties with trendy Italian clothier Benetton, whose ad campaign featuring death row inmates upset customers.

Sears chairman and chief executive Arthur C. Martinez was "outraged," as were many customers, at the ads, said company spokesman Tom Nicholson.

"The advertising campaign was inconsistent with what Sears has come to stand for and is inconsistent with the customer base we serve," Nicholson said. "We have a high level of customer trust and loyalty, and there has been some strong emotional reaction to (Benetton's) campaign."

The ads, which began appearing in magazines and on billboards last month, feature portraits of American death row inmates in prison uniforms over the words, "Sentenced to Death." The ads also give the inmate's name, date of birth, crime and expected method of execution.

Benetton officials said the ads were meant to raise awareness about the death penalty, but victims' rights groups said the ads glorified convicted killers and were insensitive to victims' families and friends.

Sears ended its contract even after the Italian clothing company agreed to allow Sears to preview future ads. Sears had said it would keep the contract under that condition.

Sears has been weighing its decision to terminate the contract since it learned the content of the ads in early January, Nicholson said.

"We have been hearing from people who have lost loved ones to some of the folks who have been profiled," Nicholson said. "It's reopened wounds and brought back a lot of painful memories and people are hurt by it."

On Wednesday groups picketed a Houston Sears store and Benetton's New York office. Hours later, Sears announced it would immediately pull Benetton-designed clothing from all 400 Sears stores that have been selling the Benetton USA line.

Benetton spokesman Mark Major did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on Sears' decision.

But earlier Wednesday he said Benetton stood by its ads and believed it had succeeded in "launching a national and global discussion on capital punishment."

Benetton has made headlines in the past with ads addressing such topics as AIDS and racism. It also prompted protests from the Roman Catholic Church in the 1990s for ads featuring models dressed as a priest and a nun that were kissing.

Sears, based in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates, introduced the Benetton USA clothing line last fall to help boost lagging clothing sales. Benetton made that line exclusively for Sears and continued to sell its United Colors of Benetton clothing in its own stores.

More Marketwire More MarketWire News Top of Page

© 2000, News Digital Media, Inc. d/b/a Fox News Online
All rights reserved. Fox News is a registered trademark of 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
Data from Thomson Financial Interactive is subject to the following Privacy Statement

© 2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
© 2000 Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved