Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Benneton "Unhate" Ad Shows Leaders K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Images of President Barack Obama kissing other world leaders have sparked controversy.  The fake pictures were released as part of a new campaign by the United Colors of Benetton. 

Alessandro Benetton, executive deputy chairman, wrote that "The images are very strong, but we have to send a strong message. We are not wanting to be disrespectful of the leaders ... we consider them "conception figures" making a statement of brotherhood with a kiss," he said.

The group says that they hope the ads will contribute to a culture of tolerance and get rid of hate.  They are hoping young people will post the images of world leaders kissing, "on the walls of locations symbolic of the desperately-needed peace process: Tel Aviv, New York, Rome, Milan, Paris."

The reactions have been swift and strong.  President of the Italian Association for Catholic Viewers Luca Borgomeo asked that the campaign be withdrawn immediately.  "Is it possible that RTL can't think of anything better?" he said.

"The White House has a longstanding policy disapproving of the use of the president's name and likeness for commercial purposes," said White House spokesman Eric Schultz. 

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