Pope Benetton XV


How did Benetton ever think these ads would be a great idea?

They call this the 'Unhate' campaign, but it already has caused more hate from religious extremists than anything else. Despite this being an extremely brave and bold series, and I'm all for taking risks, I don't see this ending well.

I think Italian agency, Fabrica have made this series controversial for controversy's sake, with the image of the Pope kissing Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, one of Islam's leading figures, being hung from a bridge near the holy city, just to crank up the shock value.

The Pope picture has already been withdrawn. Father Federico Lombardi criticised the company for such exploitation of the Pope's image. He was quoted as saying:

"We must express the firmest of protest for this absolutely unacceptable use of the image of the Holy Father, manipulated and exploited in a publicity campaign with commercial ends." He goes onto say that "this shows a grave lack of respect,...an offence to the feelings of believers...and a clear demonstration of how publicity can violate the basic rules of respect for people by attracting attention with provocation."

Other embracing images include U.S. President Barack Obama and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel with French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Palestian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu,  China's leader Hu Jintao and Barack Obama and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Lee Myung-bak, President of South Korea. 

Yeah, I'm not sure how Benetton are going to dig themselves out of this.


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