Saturday, November 19, 2011


The clothing manufacturer Benetton is known for its controversial ads, and here it goes again. The latest campaign labelled Unhate features a number of world leaders bussing one another, including the pope in a lingering smooch with a Muslim cleric. Personally I find it disrespectful and unnecessarily provocative. The Vatican has threatened legal action causing Benetton to pull the ad, but the milk has been spilt in the age of the internet.

Personally I find it disrespectful and unnecessarily provocative. Hey, if they made me pope I would be offended. This ad did get me thinking. Pope Benedict's recent gathering in Asissi, bringing together representatives of the world's religions as well as atheists committed to peace was at least an "air kiss" on the cheeks of those who had formerly been viewed as enemies. It was an Unhate initiative which should have received much more attention.

The Christian story has at least one vignette of a kiss of betrayal (Judas in the garden) and a beloved parable about a father who welcomes his wayward child back home with a kiss and embrace. We have a long history of the "kiss of peace" as a form of greeting, although we Protestants are a tad frigid when it comes to that one.

What do you think about the Benetton image? What about the imagery of the kiss of reconciliation and peace?


Laurie said...

The ad worked. It got you thinking about peace in the world.I think it is a brilliant ad. It will make people sit up and start talking. Your blog proved it.

Lori-Ann said...

Absolutely disrespectful. If someone spewed out such a photo of me [or any woman] in some position or attire meant to 'get people talking' at my personal expense there would be charges laid.

sjd said...

The advertising company did it's job. It got our attention. Is it disrespectful? Yes. Will ad companies stop doing this kind of thing? No. They will do more. We are so bombarded by advertising that we have tuned out most of it like my wifes voice.
The more shocking the add the more attention it gets.
Howard Stern did this on radio. He would say the crudest, most outrageous things, and people would listen. Some because they thought he was funny, but the bulk of his audience hated him, and listened intently to try and catch him saying something so terrible that he would be barred from the air. Unwittingly these are the people that kept him on the air so long. Ratings are ratings. they don't say if you like the programe or not, simply that you were listening.
A quote from a few years ago. "There is no such thing as bad publicity"