I shouldn’t be surprised, but I can’t help myself.

Heinz has been forced to pull its TV advert for the Deli Mayo range after the Advertising Standards Authority received 200 complaints from viewers in less than a week.

The “offensive and inappropriate advert” was also deemed to be “unsuitable to be seen by children”.

The main gripe appears to be the fact that two men are shown kissing and this raises issues for parents who then have to discuss same-sex relationships with their children.

Judge for yourselves how offensive and inappropriate this advert is:

I can’t help but agree with Nigel Dickie, director of corporate affairs for Heinz UK, when he explained the campaign was meant to be humorous.

He went on to add the usual corporate apology to “anyone offended” by the advert, which had been due to run for five weeks.

I guess we have forgotten how to laugh these days.

And perhaps we are expecting too much of parents to explain the facts of modern life to their own children. Far better to leave it up to others.

[Edit: I was slightly mistaken. Heinz wasn’t forced to pull the advert, it made the choice itself. This puts a different slant on it – namely, why buckle so easily? Needless to say the backlash has started with online petitions, a Facebook group and calls for a Heinz boycott.]

UPDATE 3-7-08: The ASA says it has no plans to launch a formal investigation into the advert, despite the 200+ complaints. Still happy with your decision Heinz?

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10 responses »

  1. bounder says:

    I’d not seen that, don’t watch much commercial TV these days without it being timeshifted and fast-forwarding the ads.

    It’s really good clever funny and relevant to the product, still won’t ever buy Heinz after their deception over the HP Sauce factory tho’.

  2. Paul Groves says:

    Jon: Agreed. Generally I have no time for Heinz and their ilk. But specifically on this, I can’t see they’ve done wrong (or, rather, their ad agency has done a good job).

    (PS: Wilkin & Sons tomato sauce is rather fruity and marvellous, if a little expensive. Hand-made in Essex…)

  3. Rachel M says:

    I live in Australia, and I havent’ seen the ad.
    It has nothing offensive, or am I missing some common sense? It showed happy family which is much more plesant to watch than arguing and bullying scene.

    If people have to educate their children (and themselves) about same sex parents, this would be a great opportunity.

    Heinz should proud of this ad, and it actually make me want to buy more of their products.

  4. Ursula says:

    A Robert de Niro lookalike cast in the role mum? I hope Felix won’t want to trade me in.

    U

  5. Will Heinz get more press and exposure from pulling the advert than from letting it run? Surely the coverage they’re getting now is a lot cheaper than spending on tv advertising slots.

  6. Paul Groves says:

    MsCreative: True, but this was part of a major new campaign and the money was already spent. There is also the old question of whether or not all publicity is good publicity?

  7. […] for looking like a terrorist’s (yes, you read that correctly – a terrorist scarf). Likewise, Heinz pulled an ad deemed by the small-minded to be “unsuitable for children” because the […]

  8. […] for looking like a terrorist’s (yes, you read that correctly – a terrorist scarf). Likewise, Heinz pulled an ad deemed by the small-minded to be “unsuitable for children” because the […]

  9. […] by the way, like the Heinz Deli-Mayo ad that was pulled a few weeks back from British screens, the complaints have come from groups in […]

  10. […] like a terrorist’s (yes, you read that correctly – a terrorist scarf). Likewise, Heinz pulled an ad deemed by the small-minded to be “unsuitable for children” because the […]

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