Known for its controversial, often sex-drenched ads, Benetton has embraced President Barack Obama and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in its new advertising.
Or, to put it more precisely, they have embraced each other.
In reality, both men have little regard for the other. But in the new ad, they join other male leaders in a full-face kiss.
Fake photos depict Obama kissing Chavez and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The controversial ad campaign is an attempt for Benetton to regain its status from the “United Colors” ads that regularly shocked viewers with subjects that had nothing to do with clothing: A priest kissing a nun, a man dying of AIDS, a just-born baby with umbilical cord still attached, a trio of real human hearts, the Washington Post
In addition to Obama, the leaders of North and South Korea lock lips, and the Pope kisses Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, the Imam of al-Azhar mosque in Egypt.
The Vatican condemned that image, and the company decided to remove it from all publications after complaints.
"It means not hating," Alessandro Benetton, deputy chairman of Benetton Group and son of the founder of the family company 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."
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