The Vatican has come out and condemned a United Colors of Benetton advertising campaign in which they use an image of the current Pope kissing an imam. It goes without saying that this ad was going to be controversial, even the idea of the image written on paper would have caused a reaction in many which would have ended the idea there.
However, with image released in its full glory it comes as no surprise that the Vatican will be pursuing legal action against the United Colors of Benetton. The image which has obviously been doctored has been pulled after one day, the reaction was so strong that the image didn’t even get a chance to settle in its position.
This is clearly a campaign to raise awareness in the company, the saying goes ‘even bad press is good press’, and it has been taken to the extreme in this image with the force of people that would be offended it is a surprise that someone took the brave decision of going forward with it.
The Vatican had revealed that it had directed its lawyers to start action to stop the circulation of the advert, despite Benetton saying that they would be pulling the ad after the wave of criticism.
The ad features a fake picture of Pope Benedict XVI kissing Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, imam of Al-Azhar mosque, a prominent Muslim house of worship in Cairo, Egypt.
The advert was part of a campaign United Colors of Benetton unveiled on Wednesday which featured many fake photos of world leaders kissing each other. The reason given for the images given by the Italian company was that ‘it had aimed to combat a culture of hatred’. A noble cause that would be applauded, but the image transcends the motive.
Other images see U.S. President Barack Obama kissing Chinese leader Hu jintao and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kissing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The ads will appear in online and print media around the world.
The Italian company had revealed that the advert was to accompany the creation of a new organization called the UNHATE foundation. In defence of the advert the clothing company said: “We reiterate that the meaning of this campaign is exclusively to combat the culture of hatred in all its forms. We are therefore sorry that the use of the image of the pope and the imam has so offended the sentiments of the faithful.”