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I am not sure we have ever written about Italian brand Benetton here before. The good times of the brand are long gone, at least from a fashion perspective. Yet we always appreciated the provocative nature of their advertising campaigns, something the brand has always been known for. Talking about subjects that nobody dares to talk about, certainly not in relationship with their brand – religion, sex, brutality, etc.

“What does UNHATE mean? UN-hate. Stop hating, if you were hating. Unhate is a message that invites us to consider that hate and love are not as far away from each other as we think. Actually, the two opposing sentiments are often in a delicate and unstable balance. Our campaign promotes a shift in the balance: don’t hate, Unhate.”

This week Benetton has launched their new UNHATE campaign (their first in 10 years) in Paris, in support of the Unhate Foundation and it is exactly what we expect from the brand and what we want to see from them – something radical, something with a strong voice, something with strong statements. Next to an incredible image campaign, featuring world leaders kissing each other, they have also started a guerilla initiative around the globe (Milan, Rome, Tel Aviv), with people carrying around the campaign images on big banners.

“The UNHATE communication project includes a series of coordinated initiatives and events, starting on 16 November in the main newspapers, periodicals and websites around the world. The central theme is the kiss, the most universal symbol of love, between world political and religious leaders, such as: Barack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao; Pope Benedict XVI and Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, Imam of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo (the most important and moderate centre for Sunni Islamic studies in the world); the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 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.”

Furthermore they have launched the below campaign film.

The full campaign, featuring everybody from Angela Merkel, Obama to Sarcozy, follows after the jump.

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