BENETTON: CLOTHES TO MAKE OUT WITH THE POPE IN
With the amount of controversy that the United Colors of Benetton campaign has generated, you might be forgiven for thinking that Italy's Benetton Group was an ad agency rather than a fashion brand. Over the years, Benetton has attracted headlines, protests and lawsuits over striking ads featuring death row inmates, people dying of AIDS and one billboard featuring the bloody clothing of a dead Croatian soldier whose parents may not have fully understood they were signing his clothes over to promote a clothing company.
The most recent and successful UCB campaign was their 2011 "Unhate" initiative, which featured a number of photoshopped pictures of world leaders like Barack Obama and Hu Jintao mashin' face to spread the message that we should abandon destructive global conflict to make out with each other.
Among these pictures was an image of Pope Benedict XVI sharing a tender kiss with Egyptian imam Ahmed Mohamed el Tayeb, prompting a furious lawsuit from the Vatican. Benetton apologized and withdrew the ad, which had become the most popular image of the entire campaign.