Fantasy By Benetton: Feuding World Leaders Get to First Base

FABRICA
FABRICA
United Colors of Benetton's new ad campaign, featuring U.S. President Barack Obama and Leader of the People's Republic of China Hu Jintao.

Hardly a stranger to edgy advertisements, Italian clothing company Benetton continues its penchant for controversy with a new campaign that features images of various political and religious world leaders kissing.

The company’s “Unhate” campaign launched Wednesday, with a mission to combat hatred and “contribute to the creation of a new culture of tolerance.” The Photoshopped images are racy by nature of its pairings, pitting leaders against their supposed political foes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu locks lips with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, while President Obama gets up close and personal with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, among other pairings.  The Washington Post reports that the ads are inspired by this kiss between Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German communist leader Erich Honecker in 1979.

Perhaps most controversial was an ad depicting Pope Benedict XVI kissing Ahmed Mohammed el-Tayeb, a top Egyptian imam, but Benetton took it down just an hour after the Vatican issued a protest. A Vatican spokesman issued a statement saying the ad was an “absolutely unacceptable use of the image of the Holy Father, manipulated and exploited in a publicity campaign with commercial ends.” Benetton retracted the image and issued its own statement saying the company was “sorry that the use of the image had so hurt the sensibilities of the faithful.”

The company’s advertisements have always pushed the envelope, but the fashion house hasn’t come out with a campaign of this nature in a long time. The WSJ and the Washington Post both seem skeptical about whether its mission is in earnest, or rather just a last-ditch attempt to resurrect the brand. Either way, people are talking.


Related Topics: , , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

Philip Montgomery for Bloomberg Businessweek

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 27, 2014

Photojournalism Daily is a compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen

Read More
The henna is a pre-nuptial cerimony celebrated in Moroccan or Yemenite families where the soon-to-be bride is dressed-up as a Queen with flowers and jewels and she is inivited to dance with her girl friends to say good-bye to celibacy and life as a single young girl. During the dance cerimony, the Kallah, the bride-to-be's hands and feet are painted with henne`, the red pouder from India. This welcomes fertility and happinesses within the marriage. Meah Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel. July 2012.

Finding Faith and Beauty in the Lives of Orthodox Jewish Women

A suspected migrant runs back to Miguel Aleman, Mexico after being pursued by agents near Roma, Texas. Oct. 8, 2014.

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 26, 2014

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,411 other followers