Over the last ten years Benetton, a clothing line from Italy, has produced some very powerful and controversial ad campaigns. From photographs that show a deathbed of a man, David Kirby, dying from AIDS, to pictures depicting North Korean Supreme leader Kim Jong-II kissing South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
The company’s ads are part of their slogan “United Colors of Benetton” and their UNHATE foundation. These are ten of the many photos that have been shown by Benetton.
1. UNHATE campaign
Their UNHATE campaign, shown above, was one of their most controversial ads from 2011. There are many more than the four shown and all of them show important political or influential people kissing. The pictures where meant to show that no matter the country or religion, that even though everyone has different views, we shouldn’t hate. Many people didn’t view them as such. Numerous people said that Benetton had gone too far.
2. Deathbed of a man dying from AIDS
The picture above shows, David Kirby, a man dying from AIDS. Benetton has been a large voice in the acceptance of AIDS and HIV. This picture, like the UNHATE photographs, angered people at how far they had gone in trying to make a point.
3. A Priest and Nun sharing a romantic kiss
This was one of the first of Benetton’s controversial ads; many religious groups were angered over this picture because it depicted different religious figures sharing a very romantic kiss. It caused such a stir that it was taken down.
4. HIV Positive Tattoos
Photographs that showed a close-up of tattoos reading HIV positive on females and males were another selection of ads from Benetton. Like their AIDS photos these were made to show awareness of the diseases. This one, along with many other in the series, was more accepted than the above AIDS photograph.
5. A black and white child facing eachother
This picture is to show that children see no color. I like the message of this ad. Children are so innocent to color and race and as adults we should be blind to color too.
6. White, black and yellow hearts
My favorite of the ads is this one of three hearts. It shows that no matter the color we have for skin we all are the same on the inside. It’s a wonderfully symbolic way of showing people that racism is wrong.
7. The field of crosses
A World War I cemetery in France was taken and used for an ad to be a reminder that in war time, no matter what happens, no one really wins because hundreds of lives are lost.
8. Love knows no color
United Colors of Benetton is shown best in this picture. The picture speaks volumes saying that love doesn’t see the color of your skin. Just as some people say age is ‘but a number’, maybe people should say color of skin is ‘just a color’.
9. Every color commits crime
This ad looks at the stereotype that black people commit crime. Like the title though, no matter the color, every man has the equal willingness to commit crime.
10. Interracial couples and children
Many couples are still criticized for being interracial, and even adopting other children from other countries is sometimes frowned upon. This picture says that color should not matter in a family relationship.
These ads are all part of the United Color of Benetton campaign. Some go too far and others don’t, but every one has a powerful message. Which one’s your favorite or which one affects you the most?
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