Heinz and Homosexuality

Heinz on Friday decided to withdraw this ad, after about 200 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. Of course considering this was a man acting the character of a woman, it begs the question as to why there were so many complaints about the kiss. More important however is why Heinz decided to pull it at all.

The Heinz Deli Mayo was pulled after less than a week on air after viewers complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that it was “offensive” and “inappropriate to see two men kissing”.

Other complaints include that the ad was “unsuitable to be seen by children” and that it raised the difficult problem of parents having to discuss the issue of same-sex relationships with younger viewers.”

It is our policy to listen to consumers. We recognise that some consumers raised concerns over the content of the ad and this prompted our decision to withdraw it,” said Nigel Dickie, director of corporate affairs for Heinz UK.

Sorry but that’s just not good enough. What on earth was offensive? What was inappropriate? Did people just not get the ad? And why is it their policy just to listen to the goddamn stupid consumers? What about the rest of us?

Ben Summerskill quite rightly points out that:

Heinz’s decision to withdraw the ad might be seen by them as an easy way to palm off 200 fundamentalist Christian complainants, (but) it seems to have been made under the quaint impression that it will cause no offence to Britain’s 3.6 million lesbian and gay consumers. Or any of their friends. Or families. Or colleagues.

And don’t forget that the product itself is so unhealthy that it wasn’t even allowed to be advertised around children’s programming, which should surely have invalidated a whole swathe of the ‘complaints’. But Heinz thought it was just plain easier to offend their gay consumers instead. Summerskill is advocating a boycott of Heinz in retaliation (and I agree).

If you want to complain directly to the company however, their customer careline is 0800 528 5757.

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27 responses to “Heinz and Homosexuality

  1. meh… tempest in a teacup if you ask me. If they were smart they would have left the ad up and faded to a cute house wife after the kiss. Therefore both titalizing and avoiding blame. it’s just a cock-up all around! The trick to advertising i to give the audience a start but to leave them comfortable and with a positive impression of their product.

    hmm tits and cock in one comment what’s my malfunction!

  2. It’s been a daft cock up on the part of Heinz. I fail to see how anyone could see that advert as anything but a joke, but maybe that’s me crediting people with more common sense than they’re worth.

    Presumably these same people will have complained about any other ads featuring yer actual acted queer couples…

  3. let them hear us! write an email to pressoffice@uk.hjheinz.com with copy to butlerc@amvbbdo.com, Ted.Smyth@us.hjheinz.com, Nigel.Dickie@uk.hjheinz.com and Consumer.Contact@uk.hjheinz.com

    subject: Censoring of Heinz Deli Mayo TV ad

    dear mr. or mrs. i’m really disappointed, why did you remove the Heinz Deli Mayo TV ad made by BBDO only because a bunch of sick homophobes pressured you to do that? you are endorsing a homophobe agenda and i won’t buy any of your products again until you repair the damage you have done. you have lost one customer, and i’m pretty sure i won’t be the only one. have a nice day xxxxxx

    and sign the petition too: http://www.petitiononline.com/heinz/petition.html

    we are a lot more than 200 sick homophobes, and they have lost us as customers!

  4. I think the concept of this petition will backfire since the people who made the ad are obviously not gay haters or homophobic, why don’t you just write.

    “Dear Heinz I was dissapointed to hear you pulled the ad, I thought it was funny and think it’s unfortunate you pulled the ad. Please know that you have plenty of gay and lesbian fans to make up for the few vocal fringe groups that are hassling you”

    Positive re-enforcement can be just as effective and lead to better feelings.

  5. I think both approaches are effective and important for different reasons. But bad publicity really is the best way to force a corporation which is misbehaving into changing its practices. It’s hardly foolproof, and I don’t suppose this will change their minds either. But it’s certainly taught them that they can’t make cavalier decisions like this easily in the future, and this one at least presupposes that some level of Heinz UK is institutionally homophobic.

  6. I know Heinz US is not institutionally homophobic and actually a pretty nice place to work regardless of how insane Teresa Heinz is . Perhaps I assumed too much in thinking the UK branch is similar but most fortune 500 companies now offer domestic partner benefits and things like that. the skilled labor market is pretty tight and they can’t afford to loose anyone because of discrimination.
    http://money.cnn.com/2006/04/25/magazines/fortune/pluggedin_fortune/

    I dunno maybe I am just trying to fight the image of the snarling gay rights activists. I just get frustrated with people that see everything as a to the death conflict.

  7. I’m with Tim on this one. Heinz has pulled the ad in response to complaints, the fact that they aired it in the first place implies to me that the corporation isn’t institutionally homophobic. Bad publicity can work, but when they’re already getting it in the neck from the fundies for airing the ad, I reckon going the other way about it and saying “look, really, we could see it was a joke, put it back on again” would work better.

    I’d be interested to see what the ASA had to say on the matter, I’ll be watching out for that judgement.

  8. Ha ha Slap it up ya’s. Three words ‘GET OVER IT’. Jerry Springer the Opera was blasphemous and hundreds of Christians complained and was it banned…NO it was not. So its about time we Christians are listened too…and may i just add its not just christians are against homosexuality, plenty of people think its digusting and against nature. Praise the Lord it was banned. Why should we have to explain to our children same sex relationships when they are wrong. Calling another man ‘Sweet cheeks’. How vile. Makes me physically sick thinking about it. You can sign all the petitions you want, God will not let it be put back on the TV. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I am in stitches that it was banned. So so so funny! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. And the threat of not buying any more Heinz products all i can say is ‘Ooooh Scary’. How will they survive?! Im sure they will survive just fine. 🙂

  10. And also may i remind you incase that our radio over here in Ireland banned the word “faggot” from the Pogues’ 1987 Christmas hit Fairytale of New York to avoid offence. Homosexuals are upset at Heinz banning two men kissing. Then you’s complain that Faggot is offending too whenver the song Fairytail on New York has never been an issue before. Soon you’s will be saying its an offensive to say the word ‘Wife or mummy’ as it offends you’s. Matthew 19 v 5 ”For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife; and the two will become one flesh?’
    So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, don’t let man tear apart.’

    It does not say therefore a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his husband or therefore a woman will leave her father and mother, and will join to her wife.

  11. And just to let you’s all know im not going debate over this for the next few days or weeks. I came on here to leave these comments and will not be returning to see what you’s all have to say back to me because dear knows what crap you’s will come back with.

    So goodbye!! Take care 🙂

  12. Liar. If there were any truth in that you’d never have had a fresh look at this blog in the first place.

    Then you’s complain that Faggot is offending too whenver the song Fairytail on New York has never been an issue before.

    I like how you think that all gay people have a shared mind. It’s funny. But I’ve never complained about that song in my life and don’t care about its lyrics. I don’t particularly like the song, but that’s a completely different question…

    Why should we have to explain to our children same sex relationships when they are wrong.

    You don’t have to explain anything you don’t want to. But same sex relationships are a fact of life – equipping them to realise that can only help them in the future. You’re a great case in point of taking offence about something you clearly didn’t even care about (or know about) at the time – or did you call the ASA a few hundred times last week? 😉

    Jerry Springer the Opera was blasphemous and hundreds of Christians complained and was it banned…NO it was not.

    And rightly so. It was a pretty good satire, from which no religion is protected (quite rightly). The government is close to repealing blasphemy laws too, thank goodness. Blasphemy after all being one of the just plain dumbest concepts to retain in modern law after all!

  13. Personally, I thought the ad was very funny, and while I respect peoples’ right to complain I am disappointed that Heinz backed down so easily. The nature of these things is that they wouldn’t get feedback from all the people who thought the advert was funny or had no opinion either way so I suppose they had to go on the complaints they received.

    I don’t pretend to know all the details, but the fact of these complaints including “we’ve got to educate our kids” when the advert wasn’t shown at peak viewing times for kids is laughable. And as Cosmodaddy said, it’s no bad thing if it stimulates discussion about the issue – some people are gay, kids will meet gay people, they probably already know some. Wouldn’t you rather discuss the issue in the terms presented in the advert, a family situation, a relationship, rather than “some men have sex with other men”? I know I would!

    I can’t imagine the ASA upholding anything based on “OMG TWO MEN KISSED!” because that would be discrimination – why shouldn’t they? You see men and women kiss in adverts all the time, and it’s not like they were humping on the kitchen counter. So it seems Heinz removed the advert themselves, rather than it being banned, right?

    I don’t buy Heinz products anyway, so in effect I am part of the boycott. They haven’t lost me as a customer, but they certainly haven’t gained one either.

    @ Mel

    Honestly, go away. If you’ve got nothing to actually add to the discussion, why are you here? All you said is “haha, look at you guys, nyah nyah”. Tell us why you think the advert should have been banned/withdrawn, not just that you’re glad it was removed. What was so offensive about it? Your actual reasoned opinion, not just “it’s disgusting”, which is a gut reaction.

    Jerry Springer the Opera was a completely different situation – it was scheduled programming; if you didn’t want to watch it, you didn’t have to. Adverts just pop up between programmes, you don’t really have a choice.

    As for your Pogues comment, I think it was ridiculous that the BBC decided to edit the song after all these years, and if I recall it was reinstated anyway. What’s your point? I certainly didn’t complain about it. You cannot assume that we are all the same just because we happen to be gay. I don’t assume you actually complained about the Heinz advert (even though you claim to be offended by it) – in fact I bet there are thousands of Christian people who laughed at it, and took it in the spirit it was intended.

    It was a joke.

  14. Mel’s way too obsessed with gay sex to see the joke though.

    may i just add its not just christians are against homosexuality, plenty of people think its digusting and against nature.

    Very true. Doesn’t make them any less stupid than you either. We may argue on this blog again and again (I wonder which post you’ll abuse next, then run away like a coward), but we may never know why it matters to you so much what other people do in the bedroom. Bearing in mind especially that the advert in question wasn’t about sex, indeed it wasn’t even about two men. But you seem not to have understood that…

  15. I always love how they bring up that they shouldn’t have to talk to their children about this, like is that really valid? Aren’t we real? do we conflict with their world view so much that we have to be draped in burquas to prevent children from seeing us?

  16. Mel said..

    “Why should we have to explain to our children same sex relationships when they are wrong”

    It’s easy to tell your kids Mel.

    Try this…

    Sometimes kids – men fall in love with men, and woman fall in love with woman, and they do what men and woman who’ve fallen in love do, which includes kissing.

    There. that wasn’t that difficult was it?

    Nobody hurt on either side in that process was there?

    Personally I’m far more concerned that you have kids in the first place. I couldn’t think of anyone worse to be in charge of bringing a child into the world. I think you’re very unpleasant. You’ve certainly got a dangerous mind. I question your ability to raise kids.

    I’ve asked you several times – what church do you go to Mel. As someone who has constantly told us she talks the word of God, I’d love to know. I doubt you’ll tell us because your version of Christianity is so warped and misrepresented – I wonder if you actually even go to a church.

  17. funny I have assumed Mel is a guy, i guess he just sounds like a guy troll to me. Is Mel always female in Britain? It’s almost always male in the States.

  18. I think in previous threads she did write Melanie. However, I get what you mean – I guess Mel can be a boy as well – thinks Mel Brooks :o)

  19. You can sign all the petitions you want, God will not let it be put back on the TV.
    Funny, last I checked, God wasn’t a controller or on the board of directors of any of the commercial stations in the UK. Rupert Murdoch may think he’s god at times, but no dice.

    Yeah… I’d like to see the church really try to dictate what can and can’t go on our TV. That’d be a fun fight.

    I always love how they bring up that they shouldn’t have to talk to their children about this, like is that really valid? Aren’t we real? do we conflict with their world view so much that we have to be draped in burquas to prevent children from seeing us?

    Apparently so. Or maybe we’re just meant to be not seen and not heard, in the vein of what some people believed of children in the past.

    Mel – if hearing one man call another ‘sweet cheeks’ in an advertisement that is meant to be parody, then I would fear for anything left of your sanity were you ever to enter the real world.

  20. If Mel hadn’t been so good at her vast biblical quotations on the Iris Robinson thread, I’d be convinced she was a very impressive troll. As it is, I wonder why she watches TV, given that it isn’t mentioned in the Bible. If social change is a bad thing, I wonder why she’s even allowed to chat on the internet – I mean it’s not natural, is it?

  21. Andrew Wilson

    ha ha lol tv isn’t mentioned in the bible, it must be ok then, cause homosexuality is!!!

    Who eats baked beans kids, you folks can’t have any kids unless you adopt so why advertise to sell into such a dud market the future is in families for Heinz and whether its mayonaise their brand name carries through to other products….Praise the Lord for a victory…

    It is written one of you shall chase a thousand and two of you ten thousand bring it on!!!

  22. Just how many times are you going to say you’re going away for good and come back? For that matter how many successful, married businessmen with mortgages go around abusing blogs using language like ‘haha lol’? I don’t think so Andrew.

    you folks can’t have any kids unless you adopt

    You ignorant moron. At least one person on this thread has kids and it wasn’t from adopting.

    It is written one of you shall chase a thousand and two of you ten thousand bring it on!!!

    Sounds like the prophesy of a Pride march. Want to come along next weekend?

  23. @ Andrew Wilson

    …you folks can’t have any kids…

    Wrong again, I’m gay, not sterile.

    And I eat baked beans. And so do most adults I know.

    I’ll reiterate what I said to Mel – what is YOUR opinion? What do you actually think about the advert? Stop spamming the thread with bollocks, give us something to talk about.

  24. you folks can’t have any kids unless you adopt
    You think? Shows how little you know about anything outside of your own narrow worldview. You are, as cosmodaddy says, an ignorant moron.

    Who else eats baked beans – adults. Who buys the beans for the kids? Adults.

    It is written one of you shall chase a thousand and two of you ten thousand bring it on!!!
    Where is this written, please provide the quote.

  25. “Lo they shall tempt and corrupt the sweet creamy spread, perverting the children with many dark references of cheek”
    312AD the Book of Future quotes

    Surely no one can deny that St Titpole was speaking of anything other than this horrendous travesty of a commercial. If the homos won’t read the book and learn it’s lessons they are all doomed!!! Doomed!!!
    Saint Titpole was clear that images in his mind had made him loose sight of his holy mission and get caught molesting 47 children at the same time, before having a vision of Christ forgiving him and telling him to set up a school for young children in penance.

    Sidenote:
    Also did you know that baked beans are more of a novelty food in the States versus the breakfast staple that they are in the UK? Typically we would maybe have them at a BBQ or a potluck dinner. So I’m guessing Andrew is from the States and doesn’t realize this.

  26. Aww, poor Mel, posing as a rightious, upstanding christian, when really, from the display of hatred in her heart is anything but a true Christian…she’ is is in fact really just a closetted raving lesbian who is just frustrated with herself. It’s ok love, just get yourself out and buy a pair of dungarees and be done with it! Theworld might not judge you as harshly as you judge others.
    I would find her offensive if she wasn’t so unintentionally hilarious.

  27. It’s a publicity stunt.

    Yesterday Stonewall marched in the London Gay Pride Parade supported by “Campbells Soup” – a brand of Premier Foods who also happen to be Heinz’s biggest rival.

    See http://gaymafiawatch.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/stonewall-beans-boycott-scam/ where we let the truth out of the can on this shameful, but typical Stonewall-tie-up!!

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