Obama kiss campaign wins accolade

DAISY DUMAS
Last updated 09:52 23/06/2012
Benetton ad

RULE-BREAKER: Judges at the Cannes Ad Festival say this Benetton ad has "heart impact and gut impact and promotes a global debate".

Related Links

Vatican protests ad showing Pope kissing imam

Relevant offers

Fashion

Hobbled model left in moonboot Kim Kardashian's torturous 'waist trainer' Obama's tan suit steals the spotlight City sisters launch design label Best & worst dressed celebrities All Blacks jockey for position NZFW Live: All Blacks in their undies 11 hottest undie-selling celebs A blanket fashion statement Zara drops top after Nazi comparison

As advertisements, they achieved what they set out to do: grab our attention.

Now, the eyebrow-raising Benetton ads that saw President Barack Obama locking lips with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez have scored one of the industry's highest accolades, winning the Press Grand Prix at Cannes Ad Festival.

In Benetton's signature subversive style, the Unhate campaign drew immediate - and hugely authoritative - condemnation, not least from the Vatican, which objected to one image of Pope Benedict XVI in a steamy clinch with a Muslim imam.

A third ad saw Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planting a kiss on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' lips, while Germany's Angela Merkel was not spared the clever artwork, pitched in a steamy moment with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Within hours of the ads going public last November, Benetton was forced to pull the controversial image of the Pope from the series, apologising and reiterating "that the meaning of this campaign [was] exclusively to combat the culture of hatred in all its forms."

The clothing company further agreed to make a "small but effective" donation to a Catholic charity.

Ad Age reported it was not only Rome who had misgivings about the images - publications including the International Herald Tribune and the Guardian refused to run the artwork.

Ruffled feathers and international debate did little to deter judges, however.

Jury president Tham Khai Meng said that Benetton "has heart impact and gut impact and promotes a global debate".

Steve Jones, a British juror at the French Riviera event said: "The reason we chose this is because it stood out on the wall... It's not like traditional advertising. It's not making a point about the clothes, its brand history. It doesn't obey the rules."

His sentiments were echoed by co-juror Komal Bedi Sohal, from the UAE, who added: "You can like it, you can dislike it, you can't ignore it."

-Sydney Morning Herald

Ad Feedback

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was your best dressed of the week?

Heidi Klum

Pia Miller

Hannah Tointon

Taylor Schilling

Tia Mowry

Charlotte Le Bon

The meh - Megan Fox

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content