At least 205 people have so far complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about an advert featuring two men kissing.
An ASA spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk they had also received around 50 emails and calls from people who are upset that Heinz decided to take the ad off the air.
Gay equality organisation Stonewall said the complaints were part of an orchestrated campaign, similar to the one that targeted their “Some People Are Gay: Get Over It” billboard adverts.
Another orchestrated campaign, this time an online petition demanding that Heinz reinstate the advert, has already collected 1,300 signatures.
“We originally only intended it to gain a few signatures more than 200, for argument’s sake,” said petition creator Sam Bannister.
“But as the day has worn on we ended up with nearly 1,000 in the space of 12 hours.”
The petition reads:
“We feel that the decision to withdraw the advert is wrong in the face of a small number of narrow-minded individuals.
“By doing so, Heinz have given the impression that they would prefer to cater for the homophobic than the free-thinking, and the decision has provoked upset, brand distrust and outrage among the LGBT community and outside of it.
“Do not bow down to these homophobic individuals.”
Heinz UK has failed to respond to questions from PinkNews.co.uk about the decision to take the advert off the air and its workplace policies for LGBT staff.
A company spokesperson told The Independent:
“The advertisement was intended to be humorous, not designed to cause offence to anyone.
“Clearly it failed in its intent to amuse and that is why we took the decision to withdraw it.”
The ASA said that 200 of the complaints related to the gay kiss in the advert, and that it would not make a judgement on whether or not to investigate a potential breach of taste and decency rules until the end of next week.