Unhate, United colors of Benetton
Obama, president of the USA & Chavez, president of Venezuela
Merkel, Chancelor of Germany, Sarkozy, President of France
Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority & Netanyahu, Prime minister of Israel
Myung Bak, Supreme leader of North Korea & Jong IL, President of South Korea
Hu Jintao, Paramount leader of the people's republic of China & Obama, President of the USA
Pope & Al Tayeb
Unhate Foundation, Store in Paris
Unhate Foundation, Action, Milan Duomo
Unhate Foundation, Action, New York
Unhate Foundation, Action, Paris
Unhate Foundation, Action, Tel Aviv
It’s a kiss, seemingly a French kiss, designed to “promote the coming together of people, faiths and cultures.” Such is the “deeply human understanding of tolerance” behind the new international campaign Unhate. The campaign is based on startling photomontages conceived by Fabrica, a communication research center founded by the Benetton Group, created in 1994 with the aim of combining culture with industry and offering young people from around the world an opportunity for creative growth and multicultural interchange.
“Ponzano, November 16, 2011. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This profound and human concept of tolerance sums up the principles inspiring the Uunhate Campaign, which Benetton has created with the aim of contrasting the culture of hatred and promoting closeness between peoples, faiths, cultures, and the peaceful understanding of each other's motivations.”
The worldwide communication campaign Unhate, which is the first initiative by the newly-formed foundation of the same name, has been presented in a worldwide preview by Alessandro Benetton, Executive Deputy Chairman of Benetton Group, on Wednesday 16 November in Paris.
The Unhatecampaign is composed by 6 images, on which we can see a kiss between Barack Obama and Hugo Chávez, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kim Jong-il and Lee Myung-bak, Barack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao, Pope Benedict XVI and Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, Imam of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo.
These are symbolic images of reconciliation - with a touch of ironic hope and constructive provocation - to stimulate reflection on how politics, faith and ideas, even when they are divergent and mutually opposed, must still lead to dialogue and mediation.
The 6th image showing Pope Benedict XVI and Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb has already been opted out from the campaign in view of the reactions expressed by the catholic community.
"While global love is still a utopia, albeit a worthy one, the invitation 'not to hate', to combat the 'culture of hatred', is an ambitious but realistic objective," explains Alessandro Benetton. "At this moment in history, so full of major upheavals and equally large hopes, we have decided, through this campaign, to give widespread visibility to an ideal notion of tolerance and invite the citizens of every country to reflect on how hatred arises particularly from fear of 'the other’ and of what is unfamiliar to us. Ours is a universal campaign, using instruments such as the internet, the world of social media, and artistic imagination, and it is unique, in that it calls the citizens of the world to action. At the same time, it fits perfectly with the values and history of Benetton, which chooses social issues and actively promotes humanitarian causes that could not otherwise have been communicated on a global scale, and in doing so has given a sense and a value to its brand, building a lasting dialogue with the people of the world."
The day after it has been launched, this impressive advertising campaign is already a worldwide success when we see the buzz, interests and reactions it created. It remains to be seen how the foundation will act for the people with this “profound and human concept”.