World Leaders Make Out In Controversial Benetton Campaign

Benetton is no stranger to controversial advertising, and its latest campaign is sure to get lips flapping.

In promotion of the company’s UNHATE Foundation, they’ve just released a striking set of photos featuring world leaders kissing each other. The Photoshopped images are pretty awkward — these are not sexy kisses — but they’re fairly compelling (and certainly provocative) nonetheless. Who made the cut? For starters, Barack Obama locks lips with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and China’s Hu Jintao. Also featured are Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany’s Angela Merkel, and South Korea’s Lee Myung-bak and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il. Interestingly, the Huffington Post also has an image of Pope Benedict kissing Imam Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, though it does not appear on the UNHATE website.

Explains Benetton:

The UNHATE Foundation, desired and founded by the Benetton Group, seeks to contribute to the creation of a new culture of tolerance, to combat hatred, building on Benetton’s underpinning values. It is another important step in the group’s social responsibility strategy: not a cosmetic exercise, but a contribution that will have a real impact on the international community, especially through the vehicle of communication, which can reach social players in different areas. The Foundation will organise initiatives involving different stakeholders, from the new generations to the institutions, international organisations and NGOs, right through to civil society.The Foundation also aims to be a think tank, attracting personalities and talents from the fields of culture, economy, law and politics, and people who have gone from simple citizens to leaders of movements, distinguishing themselves through their ideas and actions against the causes and effects of hatred.

Benetton is having “groups of young people” post these images “on the walls of locations symbolic of the desperately-needed peace process: Tel Aviv, New York, Rome, Milan, Paris”. Hmmm. We’re not sure how symbolic all of those locations are, though they are certainly commercial cities.

Check out the photos below. Do you find them effective?


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