Benetton: The Pope, the Imam and making out

popeiman Benetton: The Pope, the Imam and making outBenetton loves controversy and on Wednesday it launched a new global advertising campaign called UNHATE.  The campaign contains doctored photomontages of political and religious leaders kissing (yes, on the mouth). Benetton PR says the ads “battle the culture of hate” while the kiss is “the most universal symbol of love.”

The biggest fuss created by the campaign was the doctored photo of Pope Benedict XVI kissing Ahmed el Tayyeb, a leading Imam.

One day later, after much public agita, Benetton has pulled the Pope/Imam image, apologizing if it had “hurt the sensibilities of the faithful”.  While the apology might seem disingenuous, all it took was one day to get the campaign REALLY noticed.

The PR verdict: “A Minus” for Benetton and its Advertising/PR launch.

Now that’s returning Benetton to its 1990’s buzzy,boundary-breaking form! But given the ads were appearing in the windows of over 2000 stores, staff could easily be at risk. At that point it is probably best to call it a day. A high mark  for reinforcing Benetton as cutting edge – even if the sweaters aren’t.

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What is Your PR Verdict?

  1. Peter Emmerich says:

    Benetton certainly calculated on a “one day only ad”, knowing the huge attention the ads would get. “A” for Benetton’s PR strategy – but “F” for the premature “I’ll shock you – lol” attitude masked as caring (HIV in the 80’s) or cool (UnHate in the FB-age). I personally boycott Benetton since the 80’s.

  2. Georgina C says:

    Benetton has had its moments creating campaigns that shock, titilate, amuse even to prove a point and of course,sell clothes. However sometimes it don’t always pay to be a ‘clever clogs’. At best, a couple of devoted catholic Mums on the streets of Milan and Westchester will boycott your brand, worse, you and your colleagues spend the rest of your life, looking over your left shoulder waiting for some fanatic to prove his/her point. Sorry Benetton, a rap on the knuckles with a wooden ruler, and a C for at least turning in your homework!

  3. Lisa Taharally says:

    ha ha I think its hilarious! good for them!! with all the trouble in the world, this should be the least of our concerns, and sometimes its good not to take ourselves too seriously, there are redwoods that live much longer than us, its a short ride here on earth….

    yay for the global headquarters of the PR Verdit’s Palm Beach offices!

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