Italian clothing giant United Colors of Benetton has unveiled its new campaign, which like many previous campaigns will have tongues wagging and fingers pointing.
The new ad’s for newspapers, magazines and billboards features some rather unlikely people kissing as part of the clothing fashion chain’s UNHATE campaign.
Two were unveiled in Milan, one featuring Barrack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao sharing a kiss, and another with French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel. It’s rather sad that I hear news that another has been pulled, which featured Pope Benedict kissing Egyptian imam Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb. Now that really would have caused a stir and put a cat among the pigeons.
It is rather a bold move by the fashion chain which I am sure will set more than a few thousand tongues waging and fingers pointing for it is provocative, controversial and is bound to be the topic of conversation for many days to come. Of course, Benetton are no strangers to controversial ad campaigns, they have previously released advertisements that featured a man dying of AIDS on his death bed and a nun kissing a priest.
The advertisement banners were revealed in Italy earlier this week, which forms part of the UNHATE campaign, which according to the company’s website, seeks to “contribute to the creation of a new culture of tolerance”.
The official press statement says “The central theme is the kiss, the most universal symbol of love, between world political and religious leaders……These are symbolic images of reconciliation – with a touch of ironic hope and constructive provocation – to stimulate reflection on how politics, faith and ideas, even when they are divergent and mutually opposed, must still lead to dialogue and mediation.”
Whilst those intentions are incredibly honourable, discussing and opening dialogue over differences and working forward in the battle for tolerance is very noble, I’m sure they are also hoping to flog a few sweaters too!
Like it, love it or hate it, that doesn’t matter, it’s already done it’s job, it’s got us talking about it!