Benetton Group S.p.A. has toned down its controversial advertising campaigns as it seeks to restore its momentum in the 2000s. Formerly one of the world’s fastest-growing fashion chains, Benetton is now playing catch-up to H&M, Zara, The Gap, and others that emerged as challengers during the late 1990s. Nonetheless, Benetton remains one of the world’s largest and most well-known clothing empires, operating more than 5,000 stores in 120 countries. Benetton markets its clothing under several brand names, including flagship brand United Colors of Benetton. The company has struck back at its edgier competitors with the launch of the fashion-oriented Sisley brand, and has entered the sportswear sector with Playlife, launched in 1998. In 2003, Benetton completed its exit from an ill-fated diversification into the sporting goods sector. The Benetton family also has stepped back from active management of the company, turning over its operations to CEO Silvano Cassano, appointed in 2003.