Two new ad campaigns launched in Europe have some knickers twisted at the site of political and religious leaders making out and at the reference to oral sex to warn of the dangers of smoking. On the commercial front, Benetton has continued its Unhate advertising campaign with photoshopped images of world leaders kissing each other, once again appropriating the aesthetics and ethics of social justice activism to cleverly sell stuff & values.
In the PSA camp, a civil society group called Les Droits des Non-fumeurs (The Rights of Non-smokers) has launched an ad campaign targeting young people with images of individuals seemingly about to be coerced into fellatio while holding cigarettes in their mouths with captions reading “Smoking is to be a slave to tobacco.”
Ultra rightwing groups have responded in kind to both campaigns with the Vatican pressuring (with legal muscle) Benetton to actually remove adverts showing the Pope kissing the Egyptian Imam Mohammed Ahmed al-Tayeb, and conservatives in France lodging complaints against the sexy smoking adverts. What do you think?