Sarah Lorraine Brown

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University of Oregon advertising and public relations student trying to figure out the right professional direction to take, in search for inspiration.

13. Benetton’s Controversial UNHATE Campaign

Benetton is a fashion brand that has created its own foundation to promote and seek to contribute to “the creation of a new culture of tolerance” and to “combat hatred.” They have called it the UNHATE foundation. The idea of the UNHATE foundation is to simply promote un-hating. Putting an end to the hatred in the world and promoting love and acceptance. To do this, a campaign for the foundation was created and has quickly gone viral as well as created a lot of controversial buzz.

The newest additions to the UNHATE campaign are photoshopped images of famous political or religious leaders that have different views, kissing one another. This has caused outrage to some of the organizations that have been targeted in this campaign. The Vatican has threatened to take legal action if the picture of the Pope kissing the Egyptian Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayyebt is distributed. A spokesman for the White House also stated the White House’s disapproval for the use of the President’s name and likeness being used for commercial purposes.

72 and Sunny is the agency responsible for creating the campaign that has buzzed so much controversy. The campaign was created to promote a shift in balance, leaving the message that all we need is love and to stop the hate in the world. We all just need to put differences aside and get a long for the world to be a better place.

Although it is controversial, I feel like it is necessary to get the point across for the message they are sending. Sometimes when the work sparks controversy, you know it is powerful stuff. Though this is not true for all controversial work, I definitely believe it is true for this campaign.

Dr. Keith Ablow, an op-ed published on Fox News said, “The only psychological interpretation of such ads makes sense to me as a psychiatrist is that the corporate leaders at Benetton literally believe that homosexual sex between world leaders - or at least homosexuality as an orientation - would lead to world peace. In the collective mind of Benetton, if religious leaders and political figures would just have sex with one another all would be well.” I completely disagree with this opinion! That is not the point of this campaign at all. The idea is that those who are polar opposites that have strong disagreement and hatred towards one another need to make peace. Kissing is one of the most powerful images that displays love and passion which is why that is the image they chose to use for this campaign.

I love the campaign, I think it is brilliant. I am all for anything that promotes tolerance and putting an end to unnecessary hate and conflict. In the end, it is hate that holds us back from new opportunities and total happiness.

I want to know how do you feel about the UNHATE campaign. Do you think it is too much? Why or why not?

Also Take a look at the UNHATE film. Great Stuff.


  1. slbeinspired posted this