Benetton keeps controversial kissing ads

Rome - Italian clothing firm Benetton went ahead on Saturday with a controversial ad campaign featuring key world figures kissing each other, despite an outcry last week from the Vatican and the White House.

A photo-montage of an embrace between the Pope and a Muslim cleric was dropped after the Vatican threatened legal action but the rest of the campaign remains unchanged.

An image appearing to show US President Barack Obama smooching his Chinese opposite number Hu Jintao was published in Italy's biggest daily the Corriere della Sera on Saturday.

La Repubblica, Italy's other main daily paper, published a double page spread showing eurozone strongmen Nicolas Sarkzoy and Angela Merkel puckering up.

Last week the White House condemned the depiction of Obama, with spokesperson Eric Schultz saying it "disapproved of the use of the president's name and face for commercial purposes".

The campaign has also been slammed by Oliviero Toscani, the photographer who created Benetton's signature style of scandalous adverts, as "pathetic and the product of a beginner's art class".

After their launch in Paris on Wednesday by Benetton's vice president Alessandro Benetton, the images - which are accompanied by the slogan "Unhate" - were set to be displayed in all Benetton stores.

"These are symbolic images - with an ironic touch of hope and constructive provocation - to promote some thought about the way policies, faith and ideas, even if they are completely opposite and diverse, can lead to dialogue and mediation," said Benetton.
Joe V D Merwe 2011-11-20 03:54:36 AM
Allessandro,well done you achieved your goal!Cant waitfor next years surprise....
Fred 2011-11-20 04:28:14 AM
Excellent. Ignore the humourless mother grundies and offended invisible sky fairy believers. They have and undue influence over the freedoms of normal people anyway.
Vickers Vermeulen 2011-11-20 06:29:44 AM
Mm the "Vatican threatened legal action" That is rich coming from the breeding place of choir boy molesters.
frikkie.pasqualey 2011-11-20 08:59:07 AM
In plaas daarvan dat die Vatikaan van al die Free Masons en Illuminati tussen hulle ontslae raak, kla hulle oor hierdie klomp stront. Dis nou die katolieke kerk vir jou!!!
goyougoodthing 2011-11-20 09:14:48 AM
The Catholics threaten legal action, according to all the news it's always the Muslims who are unreasonable... hmmm, perhaps people should look into that again.
Braam Coetzee 2011-11-20 09:20:21 AM
Love the campaign! Where does one buy the clothes already? Was available back in the 90's in SA.
gerhard.kress.3 2011-11-20 07:33:15 PM
@archangel. Total lack of intelligence.
ArchAngel Zerachiel 2011-11-21 03:47:30 PM
Gosh, it sure did not take too long for all the usual suspects to crawl out of the woodwork. Gogowhatever is STILL not admitting to his intentional lies and calls upon his mates to help him. Poor lad. You are a liar and a fabricator, that is not an attack, it is a statement of FACT.