News today that Benetton has been requested by the Vatican to pull its latest ad campaign entitled ‘Unhate,’ featuring the pope kissing a senior Egyptian Imam, as well as other famous people seen to be kissing their perceived adversaries
The Colours of Benetton creative platform has historically always been provocative – always creating a stir, sometimes positive, often negative but always getting noticed.
Since the concept, Colours of Benetton, was created by Oliviero Toscani, a photographer and man in charge of Benetton’s creative direction from 1982 to 2000, numerous edgy executions have been implemented around the world .
He clearly had a vision for the brand that he managed to steer through the 80s and 90s and that now appears to be making a resurgence. Here are a couple of pieces of his past work:
I can still remember when I was living in Central London,UK back in the 90s, the fuss that the new born baby ad caused when it first appeared on billboards. I saw it from a London bus once on a 10′ x 20′ billboard and at the time it was seriously powerful as an image in a busy, cluttered, hectic environment.
Like the ‘Unhate’ ads that appear today, those ads were also removed for their perceived offensive nature but for the brand, the advertising clutter had been breached.
Apart from the New born baby ad above which I don’t claim to understand at all, I think that Benetton has traditionally done a fantastic job of remaining edgy but yet thought provoking, and ultimately true to the global brand that is Benetton.
Keep pushing the boundaries, Benetton.
As advertisers, isn’t it better to be different and get noticed where possible, rather than blend in and be invisible?
Yes, it is a very fine line between offensive and thought-provoking, between wow and euw.
But Unhate for me, is a definite wow !!