Benetton Pope and Mohammed Ahmed al-Tayeb kiss advert banned

By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

November 17, 2011 | 1 min read

One of the ‘UNHATE’ posters in the Benetton campaign, as reported in The Drum earlier today, has been banned following complaints by the Vatican.

As part of the photo-shopped kisses campaign, the image of Pope Benedict XVI with Mohammed Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand sheikh of al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, appeared in Rome.

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said: "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."

Benetton said it was sorry that the image "hurt the sensibilities of the faithful".

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