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Wednesday
Nov162011

World Leaders Kissing? Benetton Introduces ‘Unhate’ Campaign

World leaders shown kissing in Benetton's Unhate ad campaign promoting tolerance. The digitally manipulated images are part of a new campaign. (Photo credit: Fabrica)(PARIS) -- At first, the images are shocking. President Obama planting a kiss on Chinese President Hu Jintao’s lips. German Chancellor Angela Merkel smooching economic rival French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

These images aren’t the latest political scandal. They’re a new ad campaign from Italian clothing company United Colors of Benetton called “Unhate.”

The images are digitally manipulated, but they send a pointed message. The newly unveiled UNHATE Foundation seeks to promote a culture of tolerance and combat hatred around the world, the company said in a news release.

The campaign was launched Wednesday in Paris.

“Unhate is a message that invites us to consider that hate and love are not as far away from each other as we think,” the campaign’s website explains. “Actually, the two opposing sentiments are often in a delicate and unstable balance. Our campaign promotes a shift in the balance: don’t hate, Unhate.”

The website features photos of banner versions of the images being held up “on the walls of locations symbolic of the desperately-needed peace process: Tel Aviv, New York, Rome, Milan and Paris,” the news release says.

The ads have already become a source of controversy. Luca Borgomeo, head of the Association of Italian Catholic Television Viewers, has called for the image of Pope Benedict XVI kissing Egyptian Imam Ahmed el Tayyeb to be removed.

The company is known for its striking, and often controversial, ads. Past ads have shown a priest kissing a nun, a white baby breastfeeding from a black woman and three human hearts with the words “white,” “black” and “yellow” printed over them.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio