Benetton Imagines a World Where Berlusconi Is Hot for Merkel

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Passion.
Passion.

Benetton, the Italian clothing retailer that became famous for its splashy eighties multiethnic-models ad campaigns, is after a little buzz. They've decided, apparently, that the answer to their woes is to target that most rarely targeted of demographics: international-relations dorks who love the absurd. (Hellllloooo, sailor! Tell us more about your sweaters!)

The ad campaign, entitled "Unhate," features world leaders kissing, and pairs those who dislike or are at diplomatic odds with one another — Kim Jong-Il  and Lee Myung-bak, Benyamin Netanyahu  and Mahmoud Abbas, etc. There's lady-on-man, man-on-man, European Union-leader-on-European Union-leader ... a little something for everyone's taste. Though apparently not the New York Times, which reportedly declined to run the cheeky (tongue-y?) campaign. 

For instance, there's the ad above, which shows now-ex Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who hasn't exactly been a gentleman when it comes to  German chancellor Angela Merkel. In fact, he referred to her (pardon our Italian here) as an "unfuckable lard-ass." And yet, look at that body language. Who thinks who is unfuckable?

Even MORE passion.

Or this Barack Obama-Hugo Chavez pairing is fun: Sometimes passionate disgust is just passion in disguise. First there was a handshake, a too-brief, but oh-so-memorable joining of flesh, a frisson of fingers and feelings. And now, at long last, this.