fastcompany: Benetton Courts Controversy With World Leader Lip-Locks
In a move to reclaim its roots as a proponent of tolerance and regain cultural relevance, The United Colors of Benetton today launched the “Unhate” campaign, which features various world leaders symbolically embracing their differences by locking lips. To demonstrate its dedication to the cause, Benetton formed The Unhate Foundation, which “seeks to contribute to the creation of a new culture of tolerance.”
Well intentioned? Sure. Well executed? Methinks not. Benetton’s stated intention to promote tolerance is valid, timely and credible coming from the brand given its heritage. The execution, however, seems to be designed to stir controversy and publicity for the brand rather than meaningful conversation and action for the cause.
Memo to Benetton: the game has changed since the 80’s. You can’t simply broadcast provocative, high-minded ideas about social change and expect to endear people to your brand. Credit will be given to the brands that affect real change by challenging behaviors - not just grabbing headlines. Perhaps, in time, The Unhate Foundation will be that vehicle for change. We’ll stay tuned to see.