Benetton was such a big brand back in the 80's, when I was a teenager. Whoever had a clothing by the brand was automatically cool. This was when I was in the US studying.
When I got to Manila, it still had that upper status in ready to wear clothing industry. In my book, it was more special than Esprit or Guess.
But now, I don't know anyone that wears the brand anymore. In fact, I don't see too many of the stores in the mall. If I am right, one in Robinson's and in Megamall and they are almost always empty. But in any case, to me, the brand has died.
So why is everyone talking about Benetton once again?
I can assure you, it's nothing about their nice collection of clothing. It's not about who's endorsing their product. It's not about a new store opening. It's actually not something I am happy about. I find it weird, rude and done with awful taste. Although the message they are sending is quite an important one, I think they have represented it wrongly in the eyes of the consumers.
In fact, even if I hadn't bought a single Benetton clothing in years, I have come to hate the brand because of this ad.
Not only does it disrespect the people on it, I imagine the young, innocent children who see it on the sidewalk or billboards. Even if the one-word UNHATE is on it, a photo may give out the wrong message.
Benetton Group is known for its controversial ads but in the first place aren't the people used in an ad supposed to be asked if they can use their faces before printing it?
The irony of it all, they are promoting UNHATE but I have 3 words for it.
I HATE IT!
A digitally altered advertisement by United Colors of Benetton depicting President Barack Obama kissing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is seen in a handout image.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak.
U.S. President Barack Obama and China's President Hu Jintao are shown. B
Other world figures include Pope Benedict XVI and Dr. Ahmed al Tayyeb, the grand sheikh of Cairo's Al Azhar Mosque. This image was pulled from the campaign after a complaint by the Vatican.
Benetton withdrew an advertisement using an image of Pope Benedict kissing an imam on the mouth after the Vatican protested on Wednesday at the Italian clothing firm's latest shock campaign.
A man strolls in front of the Benetton store in downtown Rome November 16, 2011.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
All photos by: (REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)