Unhate Campaign: Combating Culture of Hatred with a Controversial Kiss

in Art + Design


The Italian clothing brand Benetton just recently came up with the most controversial and provocative ad campaign that is achieving massive media coverage and mixed opinions around the world. People are carrying around the ad campaign photos on large banners showing off the controversial kiss.

The Benetton clothing company is noted for attention grabbing ad campaign promotion. The ad campaign referred to as Unhate shows digitally manipulated photoshopped images of world leaders kissing. At present, they have decided to pull out the ad that angered the Catholic Church where Pope Benedict is kissing Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb who is an Imam of the al-Azhar Mosque.

What does ‘unhate’ mean? Un-hate. Stop hating, if you were hating. Unhate is a message that invites us to consider that hate and love are not as far away from each other as we think. Actually, the two opposing sentiments are often in a delicate and unstable balance. Our campaign promotes a shift in the balance. – Alessandro Benetton, Executive Vice President

Inside the world of wedding photography, it is common to capture the kiss by the groom and bride. And those images will eventually be included and chosen by the couple for their wedding album design layout. Some would even want that traditional kiss served as their large portrait canvas print for display. Here are the large portraits of world leaders from Benetton displaying a symbolic kiss of reconciliation with the aim to promote closeness between cultures, races and religions. I wonder if these ad campaign will make or break Benetton. It is obviously in bad taste to photoshop a respected public figure kissing anyone.

001. Kim Jong-il, Supreme Leader of North Korea
+ Lee Myung-bak, President of South Korea


002. Barack Obama, President of the USA
+ Hugo Chávez President of Venezuela


003. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority
+ Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel


004. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
+ Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France


005. Hu Jintao, Paramount Leader of the People’s Republic of China
+ Barack Obama, President of the USA


Benetton is known for using socially-conscious subject matter with their ad campaign to market its products. The “UNHATE” campaign draws from a popular painting on the Berlin Wall showing Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev kissing his East German counterpart Erich Honecker as shown below:



Further Portrait Design Inspiration

1. Faces Of Power: 50 Portraits That Influence The World By Platon
2. 5 Elements Of Black And White Print With Unique Portraits of Paris
3. Group Photography Tips: 56 Portraits of China’s Cultural Landscape
4. Photography Guide: 27 Creative Self-Portrait Ideas To Show Off
5. Check out the UNHATE campaign via Benetton to know more.

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