Benetton was promoting its new fashion label called “Unhate” which features world leaders which are digitally altered to make it look like kissing each other.
An example, like Pres. Obama smooching China leader Hu Jintao, Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestenian leader Mahmoud Abbas and leaders of two Korean.
Italian clothing says it is spending less than €10 million ($13.5 million) on the new campaign, has tried using provocative images to get shoppers' attention. It rode its multiracial "United Colors of Benetton" ad campaign to global fame 25 years ago.
Unfortunately a picture of Pope Benedict XVI embracing Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the imam of the al-Azhar mosque in Cairo got a quick reaction from the Vatican and said it is an acceptable. According to Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi "We must express a firm complaint for the unacceptable use of his Holy Father's image, manipulated and exploited in an advertising campaign with a commercial purpose, but Benetton said it hasn't received other complaints.
Alessandro Benetton, deputy chairman of family-controlled Benetton Group SpA and son of the founder said that the "Unhate" campaign is part of a three-pronged plan to relaunch Benetton's brand, product and retail network and streamlining its collection and focusing on knitwear and colors—two of the company's 1980s staples. It is also firming ties with franchisees to better control brand image.