Benetton to activate sentiment of Unhate campaign online

In case you haven’t seen the film that accompanies the Unhate campaign images from Benetton that have gone viral in the past 24 hours or so, check it out below.

Directed by Laurent Chanez, it aims to tell the “precarious balance and complex interweaving between the drive to hate and the reasons to love”:

 

While it might be the controversy of the world leaders kissing that has grabbed headlines – something Benetton is renowned for doing well – it’s the sentiment behind this campaign that will continue to drive it forward.

Alessandro Benetton, deputy chairman of Benetton Group, explained: “It means not hatingโ€ฆ In a moment of darkness, with the financial crisis, what’s going on in North African countries, in Athens, this is an attitude we can all embrace that can have positive energy.”

The campaign is backed by the company’s new Unhate Foundation, which seeks to contribute to the creation of a new tolerance and make a significant impact on the international community.

Accordingly, it is set to continue with a number of live actions and projects that aim for participation. It will do so by inviting people to play an active and central role through the internet, social media, and other digital applications, the company explained.

Alessandro added: “Ours is a universal campaign, using instruments such as the internet, the world of social media, and artistic imagination, and it is unique, in that it calls the citizens of the world to action.”

The initial launch has a great interactive angle. On the Unhate microsite, users are invited to add their own messages of “unhate” by posting to a list facilitated via Twitter, for instance. “Global love might be a utopian dream, but global unhate is maybe something we can hope for. So here’s a list of UNHATE messages,” it reads.

Users are also encouraged to upload their pictures to the Unhate Kiss Wall to see themselves placed opposite and as though kissing someone random, as below:

If you haven’t yet been privy to the kissing leaders, click here to see US President Barack Obama and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas; North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak; German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and Obama again with China’s Hu Jintao.

There was also a shot of of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a senior Egyptian imam, Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb of Cairo’s al-Azhar institute, the pre-eminent theological school of Sunni Islam, but it was withdrawn after being denounced as unacceptable provocation by the Vatican.