Thursday, June 26, 2008

What the Heinz?

Well yesterday's tale of mayo and the juxtaposed image of a male deli guy in place of the mum of the household has taken a rather sinister twist.

Yesterday the Director of UK Corporate and Government Affairs, Nigel
Dickie had been telling us the as was pulled because complaints to the Advertising Standards Agency and Heinz themselves had been about "offensive", "inappropriate" content in the ad and that many of the 202 complainants thought the ad was "unsuitable to be seen by children". He's even gone further to say that some of those parents had, bless their hearts, had to explain to their kids that homosexuals existed.

However, there was uproar from those of us who got the joke, both gay and straight. I mean no gay family would have a mum and a dad either two mums or two dads. The person making the sandwiches was referred to a mum, therefore the fact that they spoke with a New York accent so out of keeping with the family was a play on the product. The 'kiss' was an innocent, indeed almost obligatory, peck before heading to work, one was wondering how that could be seen as offensive or inappropriate when you considered the content of the programmes it was being shown against.

However, as I pointed out the story has gone global. Twice this blog has been visited from somebody at H.J. Heinz corporate offices in Pennsylvania. The Director of Global Corporate Affairs, Michael Mullen has issued a press release here. He has probably put his foot even further into it by saying:

"Heinz pulled the ad in the UK because our consumer research showed that it failed in its attempt to be humorous and offended people on all sides.

"Heinz apologizes for its misplaced attempt at humor and we accept that this ad was not in accordance with our long-standing corporate policy of respecting everyone's rights and values."

I have sent an email to Mr Mullen rejecting his apology as there is nothing in the ad which he needs to apologise to me about. There is however other issues I would like to see him apologise about and if you want to do the same his email address is

BTW the facebook group currently has 1823 people going to boycott the company's products and the petition to reinstate the ad now has 5288 signatures.

UPDATE 10:15
Interesting opinion piece on the blog of what appears to the PR company, Seventy Seven PR, owned by the Ad's producers AMV BBDO. These are the personal views of James Gordon MacIntosh not those of the agency Seventy Seven or AMV BBDO as he so kindly points out below.


jamesgordonmacIntosh said...

Probably worth mentioning that the opinions expressed are mine, rather than the agency's.

It's an interesting controversy though, isn't it? Devil, deep blue sea and all that ...

Stephen Glenn said...

Will do James. Made interesting reading though.

Jeff said...

Interesting debate...

I suspect the catchy slogan "Beans means queens" will be similarly shelved...

Stephen Glenn said...

LOL most certainly has been Jeff. Guess I'll just be buying in more dried Haricot beans and making my own Tomato salsa as one can never be 100% sure who creates the supermarket own brand varieties of stuff.


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