The Advertising Apprentice

November 20, 2011

Don’t Hate Unhate

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 2:18 PM

These days everyone seems to be talking about Italian fashion company United Colors of Benetton’s controversial new campaign, Unhate, that shows images of different world leaders kissing:

Is this really controversial? Yes and no. We must consider the source; if it was any other company than United Colors of Benetton, you’d be justified in criticizing this campaign and saying it’s in bad taste. But since it is Benetton, we must not forget that their advertising has a history of creating shock; something I’ve discussed in a previous entry on shock-value. For example, here are a couple of their ads from previous campaigns:

Let’s put it another way: take Howard Stern, he’s often accused of being a misogynist and people are often offended by what he says on his show. Yet we’ve come to accept the outlandish commentary from him and his guests. Society has become desensitized to his humour. And that’s exactly how I feel we should be responding to Unhate; it’s just another Benetton campaign that’s meant to elicit a reaction from people. By discussing the campaign as much as people have across the globe have, Benetton is getting exactly what they wanted.

Whether or not this leads to an increase in clothing sales for the company ultimately remains to be seen. But ultimately this campaign has been successful in getting people all over the world to talk about Benetton. Unpaid exposures are an advertiser’s dream.  And as the adage goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity.


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