United Colors of Benetton vs. The Ghost Bike

Everybody would agree that the bicycle has traveled all the way from being either sports tool or poor person's transportation to becoming a lifestyle, if not even a fashion accessory. And it is interesting to watch and find collateral damage happening on the way.
Last week I surfed the page of Curitiba Cycle Chic, an excellent source on fashion-related bicycle news and stories. There I found some images of Benetton's spring 2012 campaign featuring young, beautiful (and a bit meager) people colorfully dressed in Benetton's colorful collection riding bikes, of course. Yet, after a second or so I sensed my bewilderment with this scene. Well, those bikes are nice and painted white, entirely, so the colors come out better. Wait, didn't I see white bikes before somewhere?
Benetton spring campaign 2012. Image copyright and source: United Colors of Benetton.

Well, yes, the ghost bikes, installed worldwide to commemorate cyclists who died in traffic, are also white. To me only two explanations appear as logic: (I) The art director (team) of this campaign has no real clue about bicycle culture and uses bicycles because they are hip; (II) The art director (team) of this campaign doesn't give a s*** about bicycle culture on the ground, knows about the ghost bikes and nevertheless uses white bicycles in the shooting for aesthetic purposes. I tend to believe in the first explanation.
Interestingly enough the white bikes give the models something ghost-like. They seem flying atop the ground on heavenly, almost invisible vehicles.  
Ghost bike in NYC, Brooklyn.
Nevertheless it is interesting to see that everyday urban culture and  commercialized fashion culture can be so far removed from each other. With a small hint for Benetton, I would add that such dis-respect for everyday urban culture - especially related to the ghost bikes which are a symbol of true grief for real (dead) people, and in that sense memorials - can also backfire and create a negative image for the brand. This was the case when DKNY was using orange bikes locked to NYC light poles in a rather self-embarrassing guerrilla marketing campaign. Attenzione Luciano, the blogosphere is already picking up on Bentton's ghost bike blooper. ..... 
Benetton spring campaign 2012. Image copyright and source: United Colors of Benetton.
Ghost bike in NYC, Manhattan.

So please, dear fashion community, stay more closely interlinked with the communities you're feeding off in terms of inspiration and ideas (or at least hire somebody who does so). Addressing Benetton: please show some respect for the ghost bikes memorials worldwide. For stories about the people for whom the ghost bikes were placed as memorials, please refer to ghostbikes.org.

Two men holding (ghost)bikes in almost critical-mass-ish pose. Benetton spring campaign 2012. Image copyright and source: United Colors of Benetton.

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