Benetton, the clothing company, has been struggling of late. So they've gone back to their horrible old formula to promote their brand - make shocking advertisements.
Their campaign is called "UNhate" - whatever that means. These are some of their abominations.
The last one elicited an irritated objection from the Vatican for the depiction of the Holy Father in this manner and that too for a commercial purpose. Benetton has reportedly withdrawn this ad.
Benetton is known for outrageous advertising in the past. I won't dignify their earlier indecencies with reproducing those photographs. They have included a man dying of AIDS, a new born with its umbilical cord still connected to the mother, a soldier holding a human bone, and the like.
Sure, there is clutter in advertising and you need to break through it. But there must be a sense of decency in business, just as the same as in all walks of life. Anything that is legally OK, is not OK. Making money by shocking people seems to be an awful way to earn a living.
But in a capitalist system, the consumer has the final say. If enough people are offended by such tactics, they simply will not buy the product. Benetton's sales are some € 2 bn, not too far from where they were a decade ago. Zara, a competitor, which does not advertise, sells € 12 bn. But alas, Benetton routinely wins advertising awards for "innovative" advertising.
Being a committed capitalist, I never thought I would utter the following words, but now I do - I heartily wish that Benetton would go bust. Moral bankruptcy is a prelude to financial bankruptcy.