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heinz in a pickle

30 June, 2008

Those of you who read my offerings on a regular basis know that from time to time I bring to you snippets from the world of advertising with some form of gay flava(sic).

It’s not often, however that I catch an advert with gay content that is currently in the news with some form of controversy.

So today I offer for your consideration (and if you wish your own action) this advert from Heinz and below the video a quote from an article I found on the “Gaydar Nation” website.


Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has today written to the Director of UK Corporate Affairs at Heinz, urging him to reconsider the company’s decision to withdraw an advert that featured two men kissing.

In his letter, Clegg said that he was “disappointment” and “shocked” by the decision to withdraw the Deli Mayonnaise advert this week adding that the sight of two men kissing affectionately should “not be considered offensive or controversial.”

“I am writing to express my disappointment at Heinz’s decision to withdraw the Deli Mayonnaise advert this week,” Clegg said in his letter.

“The depiction of a same-sex kiss in this advert was innocent both in tone and content, and I am shocked that you decided to withdraw it.

“While I understand that some people in Britain today are uncomfortable with same-sex relationships, such prejudice should not be condoned by an organisation of your size and stature.

“The sight of two men kissing affectionately should not be considered offensive or controversial. This is particularly the case in an advertisement which was so rich in irony and double-meaning.

“The decision to withdraw it has not only offended many gay, lesbian, transgender – and straight – people, it also represents a backward step in attempts to combat homophobia in Britain today, not to mention a collective loss of humour.

“I am asking you to reverse this decision and reinstate the advert.”

A petition asking Heinz to reinstate the Deli Mayo TV advert has so far received over 9,000 signatures, while only 202 people originally complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the “offensive”, “inappropriate” and “unsuitable to be seen by children” advert.

Stonewall and GaydarRadio are urging Britain’s 3.6 million gay consumers to boycott Heinz and buy alternative products instead.

“We’re shocked that an innocuous ad should have been withdrawn in this way. I can’t imagine that Heinz would respond to protests about black people featuring in their adverts,” Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of gay Stonewall, said.

“We find Branston Baked Beans, Baxters Soups, Buitoni Spaghetti, Jardines Tomato Ketchup and Hellmann’s Mayonnaise all to be much more delicious than their Heinz counterparts and encourage people offended by Heinz’s decision to try them.”

David Muniz, commercial director at Gaydar, points out that “If Heinz had announced they were pulling the ad because it hadn’t worked creatively I could have understood it, but what they went on to say was nothing short of offensive and insensitive to the gay community.”

Leading the GaydarRadio boycott campaign is presenter Simon Le Vans who said that Heinz were “gutless” and “extremely homophobic”.

If you feel strongly about this issue, then please sign the petition calling on Heinz to re-instate the Deli Mayo TV ad.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 24 August, 2008 2:32 PM

    I hope you’re doing alright!

    Mike Says: Thanks Steve, I’m doing fine! Hopefully I have some time to devote to expressing myself once again!! Hope you’ve been good?

  2. 16 August, 2008 1:54 PM

    Of course, as with records that are banned, the very fact that we’re discussing it at all means that the ad has been a huge success.

    I’ve read various posts all over the net about it so Heinz executives must be well chuffed. A relatively cheap ad to produce, barely on our screen at all (so little financial outlay there) and yet it’s getting loads of newspaper and media space as well as on t’internet.

    A result, I’d have to think.

  3. 30 July, 2008 5:11 PM

    Hello! Not been here for a long time, so thought it was about time to drop back in again for a visit.

    As the others have said, it’s not a particularly good advert, on many levels, but one which – yet again – causes controversy purely because of the fact that it features two men. Sometimes I despair at the things some people will complain about (as often witnessed by the number of people who complain about programmes/films/ads that they haven’t seen, or even worse, haven’t even been broadcast yet!).

    I wonder what the level of complaints would have been had it been two black gay men in the ad? That would have been interesting.

    I’m in agreement with Daphne – stupid people really do take great pleasure in being offended. Heinz should have responded by telling the twats to grow up.

    Stonewall, despite the good the (apparently) do, annoy me when they start urging people to boycott brands because of issues like this. We all know consumers, be they gay or straight, are like indifferent sheep and probably couldn’t care less. As witnessed over and over.

    Perhaps Stonewall would be better off spending their time in a little education of the masses, rather than urging consumers to take action.

  4. 13 July, 2008 5:39 PM

    The way I understood the commercial was that the mayonnaise was so authentic in taste that it turned the children’s mother, temporarily, into a New York Deli Man.
    So, if I’m right – – and of course I think I am – – then the commercial was NOTHING to do with being gay, or a gay kiss or anything like it.
    I don’t think the commercial was totally clear, or a great commercial, but I think Heinz were very, very wrong to withdraw it for any other reason than that it wasn’t clear. I wrote and complained and got a very wet reply saying it had offended lots of people. Yes, lots of stupid people who take great pleasure in being offended.
    I think Heinz have behaved very badly – – and, d’you know what, I think it would be great if they DID bring out a commercial with a gay couple – male or female – as parents, where the fact that they happened to be gay was ENTIRELY IRRELEVANT to the commercial. But we’re a long way from that, clearly, and I think it’s a shame.

  5. 4 July, 2008 9:23 AM

    Advertising companies must sit around the table and decide on a ‘controversial’ compaign in the hopes it’ll get people talking. After all, isn’t that what a good ad should do? But then, the moment people do start talking about it, all their bravado evaporates and they withdraw ads at the drop of a hat. Heinz should get a backbone, reinstate the ad, and be thankful people are talking about it.

  6. 2 July, 2008 10:09 PM

    I agree with Adam it was not a very good commercial at all, surely the choice of mayonaise has nothing at all to do with being gay.

  7. 30 June, 2008 9:32 PM

    Maybe I just don’t get it but I didn’t think it was a very good commercial anyway…

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