Kiss Wars Goodbye: The Unhate Campaign

If world leaders spent more time making out, and less time fighting, would the world be a kinder place?

In the spirit of Benetton ads of days of old, a new campaign, called Unhate, has been hitting the internet and cities worldwide. Featuring doctored images of antagonistic world leaders planting big wet ones on each other, the campaign is designed to bring attention to the Unhate Foundation, which was created by the clothing company to "contribute to the creation of a new culture of tolerance."

How they plan to do that remains nebulous (educational programs and supporting the arts in conflict-prone regions), but the campaign is surely going to make a splash with this campaign. Besides circulating on the internet, the posters have also been hung in major cities, like Netanyahu and Abbas smooching on the side of a building in Tel Aviv. Of course, this has created major controversy, including a statement of denunciation from the Pope.

Is any major cause-related campaign these days complete without a social media component? Absolutley not. If you’re excited about Unhate, you can upload a picture of yourself making a kissing face to its Kiss Wall. You’ll be paired with an image of someone else, and soon the whole world will be kissing:

There’s also a (slightly risque) video that "tells of the precarious balance and complex interweaving between the drive to hate and the reasons to love." It mostly features attractive people making out or fighting:

Will there be any less hate in the world? Probably not, at least until world leaders are actually swapping some saliva. But at least we know what to fight for now.

The Unhate Campaign

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  • Gabriella Israel

    Call me old-fashioned...but I am not a fan of the new Benetton ads for their "UnHate" campaign. I find them to be crass and vulgar.  I understand the shock-value of the juxtaposition and the message behind it. I get it. I really do. However, a kiss is not just a meaningless symbol or action. It's an important expression of one's love and affection for their family and significant others. When I kiss someone I love, it has an important meaning and is something I'm choosy about. I wouldn't kiss just anybody. Just like these political leaders wouldn't kiss just anyone, least of all their "enemies." Kisses are exchanged between parents and children, and all other combinations of family members. Those kisses are filled with joy, affection and pride. Kisses can also be exchanged between friends--people that genuinely care about you, value your presence in their lives and want the best for you. Furthermore, a kiss between happy couples can be just about the most intimate and passionate of an exchange between two people...sometimes even more than sex. Furthermore, I think it makes a mockery of the same-sex debate. This campaign tries in vain to de-stereotype and debunk homophobia by showing that anyone of the same sex can share an intimate moment, even diametrically opposed political leaders. Those that have been arguing for the right to same-sex marriage should feel cheapened by this campaign.I sincerely don't think that this is the type of messaging that is going to bring haters together--both political or homophobic haters. If anything, I think it will perpetuate the negative, hateful feelings in both courts. I also think that it takes away from and demeans these political leaders. Heads of state should be symbols of strength and righteousness for their countries. Displaying them in a passionate lip-locked embrace with their enemies (regardless of gender), makes them look weak. The author concludes the article with this statement: "Will there be any less hate in the world? Probably not, at least until world leaders are actually swapping some saliva. But at least we know what to fight for now." I certainly am not fighting for a big political make-out session between diametrically opposed leaders. What ever happened to the art of conversation and negotiation in politics? Sure, sex and politics have been grand old friends for years and years--that's nothing new. But the root of political debates and pressing world issues will never, nor should ever, be resolved with a big, fat, sloppy wet kiss. 

  • Cia

    PS Still LOLing at the insinuation of sexual undertones to their message... ESPECIALLY that "big, fat, sloppy wet kiss" part. I don't see alot of tongue diving in aby of the images I've seen... hahaha

  • Cia

    Kissing out of honor, respect, and even forgiveness is a tradition that is incorporated into many Christian denominations. The writings of the early church fathers speak of the holy kiss, which they call "a sign of peace", which was already part of the Eucharistic liturgy, occurring after the Lord's Prayer in the Roman Rite and the rites directly derived from it. St. Augustine, for example, speaks of it in one of his Easter Sermons:
    Then, after the consecration of the Holy Sacrifice of God, because he wished us also to be His sacrafice, a fact which was made clear when the Holy Sacrifice was first instituted, and because that Sacrifice is a sign of what we are, behold, when the sacrifice is finished, we say the Lord's Prayer which you have received and recited. After this, the Peace be with you is said and the Christians embrace one another with the holy kiss. This is a sign of peace; as the lips indicate, let peace be made in your concience, that is, when your lips draw near to those of your brother, do NOT let your heart withdraw from his. Hence these are great and powerful sacraments... See Sermon 227 in The Works of Saint Augustine

  • Giovanna Villani

    It's a shame the editor's article has a bit of a .....hateful tone.
    He does not want to learn any lesson or consider thinking differently?There are weaknesses for sure in the  benetton campaign -nobody is perfect except for Apple- but can we stand the concept that they are once again trying to merge two purposes which seem in contraddiction between them?Commerce= vile and dirty + social change= noble and crucial
    It is by doing this type of thing that progress can be induced.