Behold, the power of the Pope.
Benetton’s latest controversial ad campaign depicting world leaders kissing had folks buzzing, but now the Italian clothing retailer has pulled one of its ads — the one of the Pope making out with a top Egyptian imam — right after the Vatican denounced it, reports the AP.
Benetton took the ad off its website about an hour after the Vatican said it was “unacceptable” and offensive provocation, according to the AP.
It’s an extremely quick backtrack from a brand has always tried to look bold. Benetton had earlier put up huge banner featuring the photoshopped picture in the Vatican itself — obviously trying to get people riled up right at the source.
Here’s what Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi had to say in his statement:
“We must express the firmest protest for this absolutely unacceptable use of the image of the Holy Father, manipulated and exploited in a publicity campaign with commercial ends. This shows a grave lack of respect for the pope, an offence to the feelings of believers, a clear demonstration of how publicity can violate the basic rules of respect for people by attracting attention with provocation.”
The Vatican wasn’t the only one outraged. Luca Borgomeo, the president of the Italian Association of Catholic Television Viewers, spoke against the ad too.
Fallout from the Muslim world has been strangely nonexistent. Perhaps they simply didn’t have time to be outraged — the ad didn’t even last a day.
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