Advertising: Picture Imperfect?

Picture Imperfect?

The image is arresting, perhaps too much so: a white hand and a black hand, both denim-clad and handcuffed together at the wrists. For Italy's Benetton, the ubiquitous purveyor of knitwear, the photo seemed ideal for its long- running ad campaign stressing harmony among the races. Ironically, the giant retailer now finds itself accused of racism. "Handcuffs do not convey brotherhood," says Donald Polk, president of the New York Urban League, which has been flooded with complaints about the ad from those who feel it depicts a black man under arrest. Says Vittorio Rava, Benetton's worldwide advertising head: "We thought of...

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