I’ve just rang Heinz to complain about them pulling the ad off air. If they get more complaints about pulling it off they’ll have to listen, just like they listened to the 200 homophobes that got it taken off air in the first place!
I’ve just called them and told them if they don’t reconsider then I’ll stop buying their products. I’ve stressed they’re an international company and should be more forward thinking than to behave in this way. I’ve also emailed all my friends and asked them to call! let’s give them more than 57 varieties of complaint!
The people whom I strongly suspect stirring this up are the likes of Christian Institute who have this story as their leading article on their website. By apologising, Heinz has justified bigotry. It is an insult to the gay community and we should certainly boycott their products.
I have to sound a note of caution as to how this issue is challenged. Let me say that I think that the protests re this advert have probably been fuelled by a mixture of homophobia and ignorance, or parents uncomfortable at explaining same sex relationships to their children (which is something they should clearly “get over”). My note of caution is this – I do not this advert is portraying a gay relationship. It is a juxtaposition of a stereotypical New York deli worker, with the white apron, hat, accent and attitude, with the role of a typical “mum” to advertise a “deli” mayonaisse. I do not think it was ever the advertisers intention to portray it as a genuine gay relationship. Why are the kids English and the “mom” an American, why is wearing that outfit, why do the kids call him “mum”. I agree we should protest the narrow-minded bigots who complained to the ASA, and challenge Heinz for their poor decision to withdraw the ad, but lets not be counter-productive in claimimg the ad is supposed to portray two gay men living together as partners and raising children, because it does not.
Er, Steve S, I don’t think you are watching the same ad as the rest of us. One guy turns to the other and says “Love you. Come straight home from work, sweet cheeks.” Even Heinz themselves said that this was a “slice of life” advertisement with references to two men in a relationship.
I think its pretty blatant that its a gay couple in the ad. And I for one will not support Heinz while they are backing a few narrow minded homophobes.
Have just emailed my complaint off, the quicker we get our views into them the quicker we can get the decision reversed. While the hole point of the advert obviously had nothing to do with a gay politics it sends out a bad message to advertisers that any two men kissing in an advert will result in a public back lash, lets make sure the pro back lash is bigger………………
Heinz can suck my bean! I’ve posted the link to the artical on my facebook page – I urge you to do the same! I’m just about to make the call the company and I’ll keep you posted.
My name is Sean Watkin, I am a young gay writer from Liverpool. I write for an American-based online zine (www.exterminatingangel.com), where I write a piece every month for a series called Queerpool; where I write about my opinions, thoughts, and my life. I have just been sent your article regarding the Heinz Boycott, and there is something I would like to say:
What a bunch of moaners. I’m all for equality for people of varying sexual orientations, but my god! It’s an advert! We are not Rosa Parks, and we are treated nowhere near as bad as Black Americans back in the day, so what’s the boycott thing all about? Are gay people complaining about Heinz’s actions genuinely offended or just trying to prove a point for the Pink Corner?
I don’t think anyone in their right minds wants to deal with trying to explain to their children why two men are kissing on TV. This doesn’t mean that it’s homophobic – and the article doesn’t tell us what the complaints were about. Were they homophobic complaints or simply actions of parents in the situation I mentioned above? And who wants to see ANYONE kissing on an advert for Heinz mayonnaise anyway? Whether they’re gay or straight or bisexual?
If there’s anything to be angry at Heinz for, it is not for the fact that they pulled a gay-related adverts; it’s for the fact that they were willing to use gay men as a catalyst for causing controversy.
And do you honestly think that a bunch of you calling up is going to make a billion dollar corporation change their minds because you threaten to not buy their products. Get a grip
Sean Watkin; if 200 people can get it removed im sure we stand a good chance of getting our point across
I honestly don’t think anyone is interested in listening, Ash. Let’s find a worthwhile cause rather than a Heinz boycott to battle against, for Christ’s sake.
I don’t think anyone’s bothered about listening, Ash. And I’m not sure I thoroughly understand your point at all because it just seems a little bit childish to me. . . Why boycott a company just because it didn’t show an advert? Let’s find a worthwhile cause to fight for rather than the excecutive decision of Heinz for Christ’s sake.
I’m really not sure anyone’s bothered about listening to whatever point it is you’re trying to make. It seems a bit childish on your behalf to be honest to boycott a company for an advert they didn’t show on TV. Let’s find a worthwhile cause to fight for rather than raging against the executive decisions of Heinz, for Christ’s sake!
they did show it on tv, try and pay attention!
Nasty. You clearly don’t like people presenting alternative opinions.
Nasty. You clearly don’t like people presenting alternative points of view.
you are a bit naif: it’s all of a piece. If I have to watch the endless hetero-normative scenes on television, including actors eating each other’s faces, there’s nothing wrong with asking for any gay-themed adverts being shown and supported.
As far as your comment about not having it as bad as black people. may I ask to reflect on the number of LGBT people still being hurt and killed by the bashers. Anything that gives such people comfort must be opposed.
I think it’s likely that you’ve had a comparatively sheltered existance
Sean, just pointing out your mistake as I hope you would mine, I apologise if it came across as ‘Nasty’
Comparitively sheltered? No, not at all. Check out http://www.exterminatingangel.com and read through my pieces and you’ll see how un-sheltered my life has been. Just because my opinion comes down on the other side?
The advert does not feature a same-sex couple or same-sex parents. The adverts basically says that Heinz’s Deli Mayo is so good that it turns your kitchen into a New York deli. The chef in question is the wife and mother, a woman, transformed by mayonnaise. The advert is arguably homophobic if one can be bothered to get offended by such a bit of fluff.
Thank you, Peter!!
I very much doubt if a boycott will produce any positive response from Heinz or any other major corporate conglomerate. It’s never really worked in the U.S. either where the consumer market is the largest in the world, both gay and straight combined.
To digress, I find it ironic that an organisation such as Stonewall would rail against a company that pulls an ad that depicts a supposedly gay couple with children, but would never in a million years fight for the right of those UK gay and lesbian people who want the right to marry if they so choose. Stonewall purports to represent equality, seems to me it has its priorities in the wrong order, assuming it truly believes in or advocates for FULL equality which I doubt.
Likewise – I called and complained. if you would like to join a mailing list I am building to protest at such homophobic reactionary then please drop me a line to email@example.com
I will email everyone when things like this crop up – your email address will never be shared with anyone.
Likewise I called and complained.
I have started a list to ensure that when similar things happen that a large response supporting gay rights can react timely to counter such organised homophobia.
If you would like to join the list please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Your email address will never be shared.
Derek, look at Peter Rivendell’s response, where he mirrors my own view, but puts it more eloquently than I did. I don’t know where you got the bit regarding Heinz confirming it was a “slice of life” style add of two men in a relationship. Can you point me too that reference, as I have not seen it anywhere in any response from Heinz. I agree those comments re “sweet cheeks” etc are made, but it is supposed to “pastiche” the traditional man going out to work, wife staying at home idea, only with the wife “converted” into a New York deli chef…why else is he wearing the white hat, apron, and in an English household speaking with a New York accent and displaying that wonderful NY attitude.
We understand that it is not a public order offence to kiss in public, as we do quite often, If one travels to other civilised countries men kiss each other all the time in public, the trouble in Britain is that the male species is brought up to be macho, to show no emotions and dress in drab grey or black colours and show the ‘stiff upper lip’. The Heinz advert we believe was a ground breaking attempt to show us all that Equality truly exists in Britain and we are truly sorry that this ad has been pulled by Heinz in response to 200 truly sad people. We too will now boycott Heinz, no more Heinz beans, no more Heinz ketchup, d**n!!.
Sean Watkin said “I don’t think anyone in their right minds wants to deal with trying to explain to their children why two men are kissing on TV.”
I’m quite disappointed that this attitude exists in a diverse-friendly society. What’s the problem?
Not wishing to labour the point, but I will. Here are a couple of comments from other threads re this advert.
“Don’t criticise this ad without watching it, it is ENTIRELY innocent! The ‘man’ is meant to represent a mum ‘magicked’ into being a New York deli owner by Heinz Deli products”
“I must be missing something! I thought it was a visual joke – the product is “Deli” style mayo and I assumed the man they call mum is a deli chef – so using the new mayo has transformed mum into a deli chef. The family still see her as mum but we the audience see the deli chef”
“What a ridiculous storm in a teacup! For a start people have entirely missed the point of the ad. The man preparing the sandwiches in the kitchen is dressed in chef’s whites and has a slightly dodgy accent, supposed to represent a stereotypical New York Deli chef. The idea being that using Heinz’s new range of Deli-style mayonnaise is like having a Deli chef in your kitchen. The ad doesn’t actually portray a same-sex relationship”
I rest my case !!
The advert would not have been removed if is contained a heterosexual couple kissing, however it did not. It contained a gay couple kissing and that is what has caused the complaints.
Other news sources have gone into more detail about the complaints (Sean)
The Heinz Deli Mayo ad has been 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.
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday June 24, 2008
There is also a long history of successful consumer action in this country to change business practices dating all the way back to the boycott of sugar produced by slaves dating back to the 1790’s. More recently Sandals’ no same-sex couples ban was another example.
Complaints to Heinz will make a difference (as apparently they have done already unfortunately). They are too PR savvy to ignore the negative press this will generate. I’m sure if we focus on the issue of getting it put back on TV rather than getting side-tracked by others set on furthering their own agendas, we can make a small stand for equality.
I’m not sure why gay marriage seems to have been dragged into the debate and I’m even less sure why we have someone throwing black Americans ‘back in the day’ into it. We are not in American we are in Britain, and we are not back in the day we are in the now. Speaking as a member of the black community, its about time we moved on from harping on about what has happened in the past and try and make the present a bit more equitable, and this is an opportunity for us all to take a small step towards doing so
There is already an online petition against the ban apparently, should anyone wish to sign it.
If the ad is entirely ‘innocent’ why were there any complaints?
Well Sean Watkin, yes, it is inexcusable that Heinz thinks it should apologise; that the intolerance of others should be tolerated. Do you think gay people who express their affections in public owe bigots like this an apology, too? We too can be offended, and it is right we make that known. If you’re still squeamish about the gay community declaring war on this mighty corporation, don’t worry, it’s only Ketchup.
And as a young Englishman writing for an American audience, you must marvel, what difference a few downtrodden Bostonians made, when they protested about being flooded with cheap tea, ‘back in the day’? You would have had Thomas Paine spinning in his grave.
You’d be surprised by what you can achieve with petitions…ask Exxon. Come on Sean, you know what Obama keeps saying – “be the change” ;-)
You can email the Heinz company from their website at
Here is the email I sent -
I am offended that you pulled the UK ad showing the gay kiss. I will be boycotting the Heinz company because of this and encourage all my friends and family to boycott you also.
The story was on C4 news this evening
I too called hienz to ask why they had withdrawn the ad. The lady on the phone said it was because they ahd received a number of complaints re the two men kissing. I don’t believe the ad was portraying ‘two gay men’ rather just showing what a transformation their product made in the household!
However the fact that enough people felt motivated to complain about that just shows how much ground roots homophobia is still out there – that they could be offended by a simple kiss between two men beggars belief, yes there are loads of important causes out there – doesn’t mean it’s not worth while letting Heinz know how we feel.
PS – I liked the ad anyway.
Heinz – or more specifically, their ad agency – used the ‘comedy’ of two men kissing in this advert. This advert is not inclusive in any sense or intended to portray or ‘normalise’ same-sex relationships or parenting. In fact, it is, if anything, somewhat homophobic, if rather sweet.
Unfortunately, this seems to have backfired spectacularly as the ad has offended those people who find the sight of two men kissing ‘offensive’ and now the gay community who are affronted by this perceived homophobia.
I suggest that if you want to get angry and all ‘activist’ about something you get angry and activist about something that matters – like Robert Mugabe, US HIV immigration policy or our Home Secretary’s comments about gay people in Iran living ‘discreet’ lives. Or just don’t buy the bloody naff mayo.
I emailed them. I asked for a retraction and said I would boycott etc etc. However, I think we should aim for something more positive.
Every time homophobia is legitimised like this, homophobic assaults increase. Some kid somewhere is going to get bashed or tormented tomorrow cos his or her classmates have read about this in the papers or seen it reported on TV. I asked Heinz to make amends in the form of donation to a charity which supports those at the receiving end of homophobic abuse. They need to see how their action in pulling this ad has just helped legitimise it. The more they need to comment on this, especially in the media, the harder it will be for them to justify it and the more unacceptable their actions will become in the eyes of their consumers – very few, even most bigots want to see their actions cause kids to get hurt.
Continuing on – sorry, but this has really pissed me off!
Part of the reason the ad was pulled is that apparently people think that it is unsuitable for kids. It would make it hard for some parents to discuss homosexuality with their kids, blah, blah, blah. Well parenting is by and large a choice and no-one said it would be easy.
This issue is going to give Heinz god knows how many column inches of free marketing, they WILL be rubbing their hands in glee, so it is up to us to turn the spotlight on the issue of the real negative effect this is going to have on lesbian and gay youth. If Heinz are so concerned about youth, then they can’t ignore this aspect of their actions on these kids.
Peter and Sean, yeah, it’s only an advert and yeah it’s only mayo and yeah, Heinz are a big multi-national. A few queens jumping up and down in the UK isn’t going to send them into receivership. I can walk away from it and deal with the bad feeling this episode gives me. Using ‘gay men to cause controversy’ means that somewhere tomorrow some kid won’t have that luxury of walking away, cos they will be surrounded by bullies. I used to be that kid at school and I remember it well. So, please consider that this issue does have a serious side, it’s not JUST a piece of fluff and get ‘angry and activist’ about something that matters just as much as HIV or Mugabe. You might be the one walking past tomorrow just as that kid gets punched in the gut and called a faggot.
Nothing ever changed cos people just sat at home and went ‘tut’, so if you aren’t offended by this thought and don’t want anything to change sit at home and go ‘tut’, but do it to yourself. Taking the piss out of those who are offended is great fun, and has its moments, but here it seems just a bit pointless.
Well said Nick, you’re right on.
Peter, those of us that are able to actually focus on more than one things at any one time could maybe be indignant and about the removal of this ad AND Robert Mugabe, US HIV immigration policy, our Home Secretary’s comments about gay people in Iran living ‘discreet’ lives, and anyone one of a number of others things.
I can’t quite get my head round why you should think why concern about this should in any way detract for concerns about other issues.
DONT BOTHER. We do not have gay equilty in this counrty. WE never have and we never will. Stonewall is out of touch with gay life and should concentrate more on real issues that effect our every day lives other than trite like this
here’s a list of products to boycott in the u.s.
Bagel Bites – Frozen snacks
Black Tie Hors D’oeuvres and Desserts
Classico – Premium sauces
Heinz Organic Ketchup
Heinz 57 Sauce
Jack Daniel’s – Grilling sauce
Lea & Perrins
Mr. Yoshida’s products
Ore-Ida – Frozen potatoes
Poppers – Jalapeño Poppers, Mozzarella sticks
Oh come on, be fair. Heinz aired the ad in the first place, knowing full well how it could be interpreted. I think we should give praise to Heinz, and not denounce them and threaten to boycott.
If anything, we should look to see how ignorant some people of Britain still are. It is those who complained at fault, not Heinz themselves. It is a shame they had to pull the plug on the ad, but I won’t place the blame on them.
Boycotting seems a childish idea and would not do the gay community any favours.
Anthony – Heinz DIDN’T have to pull the plug – they weren’t instructed or required to by the ASA, they chose to. In doing so they have thrown their weight and influence behind the ignorant people you talk of, thereby displaying and validating that same ignorance.
I am as fair as the next person, but if Heinz want to publicly align themselves with people who find me offensive, simply because I am gay, then they can expect to hear from me about it. They can also expect me to boycott them and actively encourage others too as well. That’s fair. That’s how fair works in a market economy.
I absolutely agree with you Nick, and clearly from the media storm that is brewing and the comments attached to the story on every major newspaper’s websites, public opinion, gay and straight, is overwellingly against the removal of the ad.
Who gives a toss?! I object more to gay men being used to flog baked beans than the fact that this ad has been pulled. Every time I see Stonewall mentioned in the press, I squirm with embarrassment at the laughing stock they are making of the gay community, and I know I am not alone. What a bunch of whiners and reactionaries they are painting us to be. David Davies last week? Heinz Beanz this week? What will it be next week, as Stonewall fights for its survival, desperately attempting to prove that it still has a role to play in this more enlightened age when, in reality, it is fast becoming an irrelevance and a major embarrassment. Gay men should start acting like men and stop screaming “bigots” every time the minority of ignoramuses who still view us with disdain open their mouths.You are far more likely to make them go away by laughing at them and ridiculing them than to scream and shout at them. Just ignore them and they will go away. Make a fuss and get outraged every time you see an injustice and our comunity will only attract more negative attention and be viewed as reactionary zealots who won’t be satisfied until we are running the world! Gays have never been as accepted by, and integrated into, the mainstream as we are today. For Heaven’s sake, people, take a deep breath, calm down, chill out, and be grateful for the more enlightened times we are living in!!
“For Heaven’s sake, people, take a deep breath, calm down, chill out, and be grateful for the more enlightened times we are living in!”
Rod, we’re getting there yes, but Heinz pulling an ad because two men are kissing would indicate we have a LONG way to go yet.
I do not agree that this is an overreaction. If 200 people can complain about two men kissing and have an ad pulled, what’s next? Objections to two men kissing on the street? Or holding hands? Or moving in next door? Complacency is a slippery slope and should never be an answer to 200 homophobic reactions to an ad.
I am the person who erroneously sent the original email to Sean. Here is my response to his response (APOLOGIES FOR THE CAPS):
What a bunch of moaners. I’m all for equality for people of varying sexual orientations, but my god! It’s an advert! (ADVERTS ARE A POWERFUL AND OFTEN SUBTLE WAY OF ENFORCING THE STATUS QUO – OR NOT AND WE SHOULD ALWAYS BE ALERT TO HOW GAY PEOPLE ARE PORTRAYED IN THE MEDIA)
We are not Rosa Parks, and we are treated nowhere near as bad as Black Americans back in the day, so what’s the boycott thing all about? (NOT ALL GAY PEOPLE ARE TREATED FAIRLY AND HAVE THE ADVANTAGES WE HAVE – THINK MATTHEW SHEPHERD, IRANIAN HOMOSEXUALS, JAMAICAN AND AFRICAN LESBIANS RAPED TO TURN THEM STRAIGHT, GAY-BASHING IN MANCHESTER… NO MATTER HOW SMALL THE INSULT OR ABUSE IT STILL NEEDS CHALLENGING TO CHANGE.)
Are gay people complaining about Heinz’s actions genuinely offended or just trying to prove a point for the Pink Corner? (I FOR ONE AM GENUINELY OFFENDED THAT HEINZ WOULD REMOVE AN AD ON THE BASIS OF 200 COMPLAINTS ABOUT 2 MEN KISSING IN A CLEARLY LIGHT-HEARTED AD.)
I don’t think anyone in their right minds wants to deal with trying to explain to their children why two men are kissing on TV (I THINK EVERYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MINDS SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN TO THEIR CHILDREN WHY 2 MEN WOULD BE KISSING – HOW IS THIS ANY DIFFERENT TO A MAN AND A WOMAN KISSING IN THE SAME WAY?).
This doesn’t mean that it’s homophobic – and the article doesn’t tell us what the complaints were about. Were they homophobic complaints or simply actions of parents in the situation I mentioned above? (HOW IS IT NOT HOMOPHOBIC TO COMPLAIN ABOUT 2 MEN KISSING AND NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT A MAN AND A WOMAN KISSING IN THE SAME SITUATION?)
And who wants to see ANYONE kissing on an advert for Heinz mayonnaise anyway? (AGREED – BUT WHAT IS WRONG ABOUT A ‘PERCEIVED’ ALTERNATIVE FAMILY.) Whether they’re gay or straight or bisexual?
If there’s anything to be angry at Heinz for, it is not for the fact that they pulled a gay-related adverts; it’s for the fact that they were willing to use gay men as a catalyst for causing controversy. (AGREED – IF THAT’S WHAT THEY WERE DOING.)
WHATEVER THE POINT OF THE AD – WHETHER IT WAS INTENDED TO PORTRAY A GAY RELATIONSHIP OR NOT(I AGREE WITH THE COMMENTS ABOUT THIS BEING UNINTENTIONAL – THE WHOLE NY DELI CHEF/MOM THING) THE COMPLAINTS ARE CLEARLY HOMOPHOBIC– WHATEVER THE REASON GIVEN. TAKING OFFENCE TO THE SIGHT OF 2 MEN KISSING (AND NOT EVEN A FULL ON SNOG) IS HOMOPHOBIC.
REMOVAL OF THE AD ON THE BASIS THAT IT OFFENDS SOME PEOPLE – AND NOT THINKING HOW THAT WILL LOOK TO EVERYONE ELSE IS A BAD MOVE ON THE PART OF HEINZ. I BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD USE PINK BUYING POWER TO SUPPORT COMPANIES WHO ACTIVELY SUPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL AND NOT SUPPORT THOSE THAT GIVE IN TO THE MORAL MINORITY.
I ALSO AGREE THAT LETTING THIS GO IS THE START OF THE SLIPPERY SLOPE. I’VE COMPLAINED TO HEINZ VIA THEIR SITE AND SIGNED THE ON-LINE PETITION.
I say FULL RESPECT to Heinz…well done…why? Well they dared do an advert with a gay couple in the first place, if it hadn’t have been pulled we would have applauded it – or WOULD WE?
I doubt it! Heinz knew that by pulling it it would get MORE RECOGNITION and ATTENTION. I say, ruddy GOOD ON THEM!
If people are TOO IGNORANT to recognise this as a VERY BRAVE publicity stunt that could BACKFIRE from their middle-England audience then MORE FOOL YOU!
I think that Heinz knew only too well that this could ‘backfire’. They are the client and nothing the ad agency came up with would ever make it to air without the full agreement of the Heinz marketing department, and that includes this ad with the associated risk. In the back, or probably not so back, of their minds would be the knowledge that the sight of two guys kissing on TV could still cause a stir, however small or large.
Their fall-back position would have been pre-planned from the start. They knew they could pull this ad and not lose the campaign – they knew they would have other executions out there still running. Otherwise this would have been the standalone ad. They also knew that balance of the cost of the ad and pulling it against the value of the free media they would get when they did pull would probably be in their favour. If this had been a standalone ad, that would not have been true – they would only have the uncontrolled media rather than their carefully crafted message out there. In this circumstance they may have resisted the calls to pull the ad, purely for financial reasons.
Marketers plan, execute and brand track campaigns from every angle, doing extensive audience research both pre and post campaign break. Heinz are to be viewed in a dim light as they have chosen to exploit the free publicity and ignore the offence they have caused to many gay and lesbian people.
It might just be though that they have underestimated how negative the backlash is. When their replies to all the emails start coming through we’ll be able to see the angle they take. Then we really will know what they think of us!
I think this is not just a thing we should take up with Hinze but your supermarket as well email them telling them you object as a LGBT person to seeing the homphobic Hinze products in stores and if they want to keep your custom they will remove all Hinze products.
let them hear us! write an email to email@example.com with copy to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!!
cheers for those addresses Nia
Hey Heinz – check this out:
Right.. so boycott a company that places a Gay advert (but retracts it in the face of pressure and condemnation) and instead purchase products from companies too chicken-shit to do anything pro-gay. Very clever!
Heinz are in business to make a profit using all legal means. Shame some think that they exist to promote immoral lifestyles.
I urge all to boycott Stonewall on the grounds that they are prejudicial against heterosexuals, having never championed heterosexual causes or supported the heterosexual community.
See how duimb it comes across?