Benetton Ads Spark Controversy
November 17, 2011 by staff
Benetton Ads Spark Controversy, President Obama snogging Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez? Unlikely. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu smooching with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas? Never.
President Sarkozy cuddling up to German chancellor Angela Merkel… Actually, that one we could see. Somewhat disturbingly.
These images and more are all part of a new advertising campaign by clothing brand Benetton, who in an attempt to spark sales conversation have released six highly controversial images of world leaders engaging in some very close diplomatic discussions.
The ‘Unhate’ campaign is intended to promote a new way of looking at hatred, the brand says.
“It means not hating,” Alessandro Benetton, deputy chairman of Benetton Group SpA, told the Wall Street Journal. “In a moment of darkness, with the financial crisis, what’s going on in North African countries, in Athens, this is an attitude we can all embrace that can have positive energy.”
Benetton said that the ads were inspired by a famous embrace between Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker caught on camera in 1979.
“While global love is still a utopia, albeit a worthy one, the invitation ‘not to hate’, to combat the ‘culture of hatred’, is an ambitious but realistic objective,” he said. “At this moment in history, so full of major upheavals and equally large hopes, we have decided, through this campaign, to give widespread visibility to an ideal notion of tolerance and invite the citizens of every country to reflect on how hatred arises particularly from fear of ‘the other’ and of what is unfamiliar to us.
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