Obama & Chavez were smooching?! Not really…. it’s part of United Colors of Benetton‘s effort to bring awareness to their Unhate Foundation, which seeks to contribute to the creation of a new culture of tolerance and to combat hated. The ad campaign, featuring world leaders kissing and made possible by photoshop, is self-aware in its boldness but never got permission from the leaders themselves and has certainly enraged several constituencies. I personally take issue with the irresponsibly approved ads, and don’t think that photoshopped fake imagery about brotherhood conveys its importance with any weight. Further, a political angle is especially tough to take, given that political leaders and the system on whole are not always so well-viewed in the public eye. The fashion world has power, too, so I hate to see Benetton just do this with it. I’m all for innovative, controversial ad campaigns, especially about new precedents for tolerance, but I frankly don’t think that this accomplishes much at all and that the Unhate campaign has failed despite it’s valuable premise.

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