Primarily Benetton’s new Unhate Campaign, featuring world leaders in for some lip-locks, had won the Cannes Ad Festival Award in 2012. Among one of the many shots, were President Barack Obama and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, shown kissing each other publicly on the lips. The images shown are definitely not the latest political scandal, though some did misunderstand the situation. The shots are actually digitally manipulated, in order to convey the campaign’s new message to their audience. Mostly it is mislead and twisted intentionally to trigger the audience into giving their feedbacks and opinions from the visual. The whole advertisement is not only misleading, but sadistically made pleasurable for some.
And according to Steve Jones, a U.K.- based member of the press jury, had told AdAge, “The reason we chose this is because it stood out on the wall. It’s not like traditional advertising. It’s not making a point about the clothes, its brand history. It doesn’t obey the rules. You can like it, you can dislike it, but you can’t ignore it.“
Regarding that, we see how Benetton’s choices for advertisements have always been provocative. The statement, “ It doesn’t obey the rules. You can like it, you can dislike it, but you can’t ignore it” , shows us how they would prefer to settle for a controversial ad as it would gain more attention from people around the world. In terms of controversial this time, Benetton has decided to use several huge political faces such as Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez. These men whom are known as big-time politicians, clearly have a huge impact on people too. And the use of their images for a kissing ad, has only made it worse by giving people the wrong impression everywhere. Regardless of the unappropriate content it is used for, Benetton has also dishonored these fellow politicians big time.
Another shock value to this photoshopped controversial ad, is the fact that it’s man kissing man. The concept of politicians embracing politicians from the same gender, has placed the yuck factor to a very high level. And of course, severely brought several questions on the orientation of homosexuality among leaders. Psychologically, Benetton have us believe that homesexuality is the way to world peace. Its as if every leader turns gay, men would become more democratic, forgetting his dictatorship towards others. Even catholic and muslim leaders, black and white men will get along.
Knowingly, advertisements do change from time to time, but its gestures and messages does have an eternal impact on the community. As seen above, the impact could be pretty ugly if advertising is done wrong. Hence, watch what you advertise. It makes a difference.
Benetton ‘Unhate’ Campaign, Featuring World Leaders Kissing, Wins Cannes Ad Festival Award, Huff Post Gay Voices, June, viewed 1 April 2014
Why Can’t I Love Benetton’s Unhate, Huff Post Media, November, viewed on 1 April 2014
In Benetton’s World, Gay Sex Solves Everything, Fox News, November, viewed on 1 April 2014