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Vatican Isn’t Buying What Benetton’s Selling With Pope-Imam Ad

Posted on Nov 17, 2011

Benetton strikes again: This particular ad didn’t sit well with the Vatican’s higher-ups.

Italian clothing company Benetton’s latest foray into multiculturalism, this time with interfaith overtones, has landed the retailer in hot holy water with the Vatican.

In a blatant bid to stay relevant while broadcasting a shock-inducing message of love in the time of globalization, Benetton launched an ad campaign Wednesday with the word “UNHATE” emblazoned on images of a host of world leaders in Photoshopped lip locks, including Barack Obama smooching Chinese President Hu Jintao, French President Nicolas Sarkozy interfacing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Pope Benedict XVI kissing Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb. The Holy See quickly shut down the staged pope-imam lovefest by threatening legal action, and the offending image disappeared from the Web and the walls of several European cities later that day.

A predictable turn of events coming from the ever-vigilant Vatican, but perhaps most shocking is that people have apparently still been shopping at Benetton since it peaked somewhere around 1987.  —KA

CBS News:

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi called the ad an “unacceptable” manipulation of the pope’s likeness that offended the religious sentiments of the faithful.

“It shows a serious lack of respect for the pope,” Lombardi said in a statement that warned that the Vatican was studying measures to protect the pontiff’s image.

[...] Benetton said the photos of political and religious leaders kissing were “symbolic images of reconciliation — with a touch of ironic hope and constructive provocation — to stimulate reflection on how politics, faith and ideas, when they are divergent and mutually opposed, must still lead to dialogue and mediation.”

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By Raymond peringer, November 26, 2011 at 10:45 am Link to this comment
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Benetton is famous for adolescent advertising. This tactic is usually resorted to by companies about to go down the toilet.

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By LocalHero, November 25, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Must’ve hit a little too close to home for the “King of the Pederasts.”

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By Irene Leeg, November 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment
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When you have a poorly managed and unsuccessful company you have to resort to the most salacious and banal levels of advertising.  (Witness the buffoons at Abercrombie and Fitch.)  They ought to put some effort into their line of clothing instead of these cheap shots to get some attention.

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By James M. Martin, November 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

How uptight and homophobic can you get that you would threaten legal action for a PhotoShop like that?  Their silly celebacy is unnatural and they won’t let openly married men be priests, so what they get is pedophiles who may or may not be gay.  About half of the priests in Europe are secretly married, and the rest of them are molesting boys, beating their meat, or flaying themselves with lashes each time an impure thought enters their mind, even then cuming because so turned on by the masochistic suffering of their savior.

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By Merlinps, November 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
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So, where are the complaints from the other leaders? The speed of the pope’s
demand shows the fragility of his massive ego. He is still ratinzinger with a name
change. Benneton? How slick are they to use the old lawyer trick of knowingly
stating what they should not, only to withdraw it immediately upon the judge’s
demand. They win because the feathers are in the wind. That picture,
photoshopped as it was, is now out there courtesy of the internet. There is no
getting it back.
If the point of the ad was to keep Benneton in the public’s mind, it is a winner no
matter what is said and done.

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By RayLan, November 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

Yah photoshopping is a sin - now if you could get real pictures of a pontiff or cardinal kissing a boy…

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By TheEnd, November 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

This could be defused so easily but why would anyone want to do that?  It isn’t as if there’s anything more important going on in the world.  Sigh. - TheEnd

P.S. I laughed :~)

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By moonraven, November 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

I’m not buying it either. 

For cutting and pasting silly bits, Monty Python was a shitload better.

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By oddsox, November 18, 2011 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Ha, gerard, for once we agree wholeheartedly!

This is all so outrageously hilarious!
(and, please—any homophobic reactions would just ruin the fun.)

Benneton should set up a website that allows users to create their own pairings.
Have a contest for best kissing duo.
(Donald Trump kissing himself?)
Maybe a create-your-own-Christmas-card option.

Jolly good fun, eh what!

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By robertaustin, November 18, 2011 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

I’m not worried about offending the Pope’s sensibilities. However, I do feel such ads are stupid. All of us need to understand that we don’t need to love or even like each other to peacefully coexist. Respect, not love, is what is needed.

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By gerard, November 17, 2011 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

Hey, guys!  Let’s have more of this all round!  Might instigate a revolutionary thaw in centuries of hatred and malice.  The world is overdue for a love-in or two here and there. Now if Pat Robertson would just cozy up to the Reverend Wright, we’d be in business.

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