What have weird images got to do with selling pullovers?

Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Strange people, creative directors. Their primary function is to come up with ideas which will encourage us to buy everything from yoghurt to vacuum cleaners – but they sometimes get a little distracted.

Take the latest Benetton ads, for example, which are being banned from newspapers and magazines all over the world as we speak.

The campaign (with the idealistic title of Unhate) uses cutting-edge digital wizardry to produce photographs of Barack Obama snogging Hugo Chavez and the Pope locking lips with the sheikh of the al-Azhar mosque.

There’s no doubt these weird images have provided the company with all the publicity it can handle – but that’s not quite the same as persuading punters to buy one of its snazzy pullovers.