Benetton Unhate Campaign Features Kissing World Leaders
If there was ever any doubt of the effectiveness a powerful image can have in building a brand, the latest visual brand campaign for Benetton makes a most compelling point. Benetton have long been loved for building a brand around the higher themes of compassionate thought and tolerance. In the fashion world of young, sexual and anorexia driven visual language, the Benetton brand has always traversed the high road. In choosing this path, Benetton have built many campaigns around a contentious thought, illustrated by a powerful image.
If you’ve missed it over the last week-or-so, the latest brand campaign features images of world religious and political leaders kissing one another, celebrating the mission of its new ‘Unhate Foundation’ to promote tolerance. One image from the campaign featuring Pope Bendetto XVI kissing a prominent Imam, Ahmed el Tayyeb caused such a furor that it has been banned in many parts of the world and reportedly withdrawn from the campaign by Benetton. Without necessarily being inappropriately provocative, there is no doubt the consternation over the image has provided the Unhate Foundation and Benetton even greater profile than a traditional brand campaign could ever have achieved.
As fashion brands have come and gone over the decades, one reason Benetton have endured and remained relevant to generations of fashionistas is their unique approach to building their brand based upon a higher meaning and greater purpose. No, this is no short-term brand development strategy – and yes, it’s tough for any business to remain true to such a distinctly moral positioning, but as businesses become increasingly savvy with their branding, the days of easily-won brand positions are fading.
If you’d like an engaging discussion on how you might build differentiated equity for your brand based-upon a greater purpose, we’d love to chat about how we might help you reach that higher brand plane.