Benetton's Provocative 'World Leaders Kissing' Ads Shouldn't Be Pulled (PHOTO)

benetton adsWhy does everybody think Benetton was going for shock value with their "Unhate" ad campaign, which features photoshopped images of same-sex world leaders in liplocks? I mean, what better way to illustrate the opposite of hate than a picture of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a senior Egyptian imam? Talk about breaking down barriers.

Fine, I'm kidding (mostly). Of course the clothing company was looking to grab some serious attention when they put President Obama and Hu Jintao in a passionate embrace. Not surprisingly, Benetton has already pulled the image of the Pope and the imam (they may as well have waved a red cape in front of the Vatican with that one. Toro!).

But if you look beyond the controversy, I honestly think they couldn't have chosen a better series of visuals to make their point.


Think about hate, and how it manifests in the world today ... intolerance and bigotry are at the top of the list. Battles are fought and people are killed over differences in race, religion, sexual orientation. You could say that hate is responsible for all of society's ills.

It's a shame that everyone seems to be reacting to these images with all the maturity of a 12-year-old boy: "Ewww, two guys are kissing!!!" They're missing the powerful message underneath, the potentially universe-altering suggestion that our differences don't have to pit us against each other.

I mean, really. If Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas can manage to make out, surely the rest of humanity can find a way to get along.

Do you think the Benetton "Unhate" ads should be pulled?

Image via Splash

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