New Benetton’s campaign “Unhate” lacks creativity
New Benetton’s branding campaign “Unhate”, inspired by a famous embrace between Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and his East German counterpart Erich Honecker, generated diversity of views (mostly negative) across media and has upset the Vatican and the White House.
Posters feature digitally manipulated images of world leaders locked in amorous embrace. President Barack Obama and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. The images promote Benetton’s newly formed Unhate Foundation.
“It means not hating,” Alessandro Benetton, deputy chairman of Benetton Group SpA, told the Wall Street Journal. “In a moment of darkness, with the financial crisis, what’s going on in North African countries, in Athens, this is an attitude we can all embrace that can have positive energy.”
This is not new from Benetton, of course. It is something we expect from Benetton. However, this time the shock value of the images is below Benetton’s standard set by Oliviero Toscani’s artistic photos in the eighties and nineties when Benetton became a generator of social consciousness.
This time images created by “Fabrica” are merely photoshop montages and Benetton’s campaign risks to be seen as calculated marketing puff without substance which can eventually damage one of the most valued brand characteristics – authenticity.
According to reports Benetton has not asked the leaders involved for permission.