A mayonnaise advert showing two men kissing has been withdrawn after it led to more than 200 complaints.
Heinz confirmed last night that it had withdrawn the television commercial for its Deli Mayo following 'consumer feedback'.
Nigel Dickie, of Heinz UK, said: We recognise that some consumers raised concerns over the content of the ad and this prompted our decision to withdraw it. The advertisement, part of a short-run campaign, was intended to be humorous and we
apologise to anyone who felt offended.
The advertising watchdog has yet to confirm if it will investigate the Heinz commercial, one of the most complained about commercials this year.
Viewers said it was 'offensive', 'inappropriate' and 'unsuitable to be seen by children', while some parents were angry that they had been forced to explain same-sex relationships to their youngsters who asked them about the ad.
The commercial shows a family scene with a young boy and girl getting ready to go to school. They refer to a man making sandwiches in the kitchen as 'mum'. He is dressed like a delicatessen worker and has a New York accent. Their father enters
the kitchen, grabs a sandwich and says to the man: See you tonight, love. The 'mum' then shouts back Hey, ain't you forgetting something, before the two men kiss.
It finishes with the slogan: Heinz Deli Mayo – Mayo with a New York Deli flavour.'
Gay rights supporters have been urged to boycott Heinz products, after the company dropped a mayonnaise advertisement that showed two men kissing.
Campaigners insisted that Heinz had capitulated to a concerted homophobic campaign and that they would be urging supporters to boycott the company's products.
The corporation decided to withdraw the light-hearted Deli Mayo commercial within days of its launch because it was "listening to its consumers".
The Advertising Standards Authority said yesterday that it had received 202 objections from viewers, a high number in such a short time. A spokesman for the ASA said it has yet to decide whether to investigate if the commercial breached its
rules, adding: Homosexuality in itself is not a breach but they could look at it from the point of view of taste and decency.
The commercial also caused controversy in the US where the notoriously reactionary Fox News host Bill O'Reilly complained: I just want mayonnaise, I don't want guys kissing.
Last night Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall, urged its supporters to stop buying Heinz products. We're shocked that an innocuous ad should have been withdrawn in this way.
Our phones have not stopped ringing with supporters who are deeply upset. I think people are a surprised they have responded so swiftly to what appears, on the face of it, to be organised complaints, a campaign by people who are determined to
be outraged whenever there is any reference to homosexuality, however light hearted.
The ASA said viewers had complained that the Heinz scene depicting two men giving each other a quick kiss goodbye was "offensive", "inappropriate" and "unsuitable to be seen by children".
Viewers? Bigots more like. There is nothing wrong with homosexual expressions of affection. They would not moan if it was a heterosexual display of affection would they? As to it being unsuitable for children this is simply hate in caring form.
There are gay children, we do not want to deal with it but there are, and positive depictions of same sex relationships such as this are a great help all round.
MPs are calling for an advert showing two men kissing to be reinstated after it was pulled following complaints. More than two decades after the first gay kiss on teatime TV, a kiss is clearly not always just a kiss.
Twenty-one years after Britain's first gay kiss on primetime TV prompted condemnation from MPs, a show of intimacy between two men clearly still has the capacity to shock television audiences.
Heinz has withdrawn an advert for its Deli Mayo brand one week into a five-week schedule. It depicts a man with a New York accent and dressed like a chef, making sandwiches in a homely British family kitchen. After a schoolboy and girl - who
refer to the wise-cracking chef as "Mum" - dash through to pick up their sandwiches, their harried father appears, seemingly late for work. The father says a fleeting goodbye but is summoned back by the chef for a more intimate farewell
- a brief kiss.
A spokeswoman for the ASA says it's still assessing whether to investigate, but added that homosexuality in itself is not a breach of the code and complaints in the past about adverts showing same-sex kissing had not prompted any action.
Yet one organisation failing to see the funny side is the American Family Association, which issued an action alert to members over the advert urging them to register their disapproval with the firm's US headquarters.
But the withdrawal of the advert has prompted some MPs to insist it be reinstated, while gay rights group Stonewall is leading a campaign to boycott Heinz.
Some people could be offended by seeing a mixed race couple but the real issue is whether it's proportionate to withdraw an advert on that basis, says chief executive Ben Summerskill: No nine or 10-year-old child is going to be outraged
by two men kissing unless someone tells that child to be upset.
A right-wing and outspokenly homophobic group in the United States organised a campaign against an advert that was only shown in the UK.
The ad, which featured a kiss between two men, was targeted by what gay equality group Stonewall called an organised campaign here in Britain.
It has emerged that a similar tactic was used by the American Family Association. Heinz's corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh was deluged with complaints from some of the estimated 3.5 million fundamentalist Christians in the AFA.
We suggest you forward this to all your family and friends letting them know of the push for homosexual marriage by Heinz, the AFA said in an email to supporters, reports The Guardian: This ad is currently running in England, but no
doubt can be expected in the US soon.
Heinz UK had already decided to pull the advert from British TV before the AFA became involved, a decision that has led everyone from gay groups to MPs to condemn them.
The UK's advertising regulator has decided not to investigate Heinz's "male kiss" TV ad, despite 215 complaints from viewers that it was offensive and inappropriate to see two men kissing.
The ASA council considered that while some viewers may have personal objections to any portrayal of same sex kissing there was nothing in the content of the advertisement what would constitute a breach of the advertising code, said a
spokesman for the ASA.
The Heinz TV ad carried an "ex-kids" restriction, meaning it cannot be shown in or around children's programming, because Heinz Deli Mayo falls foul of Ofcom's TV ad restrictions relating to junk food products.
A spokesman for Heinz said that despite the ad being cleared of breaching the advertising code the company had no plans to put the Heinz Deli Mayo TV commercial back on air.
More and more, says a spokesman for the Catholic League, ads are designed to insult Catholics — a group she said comprises a safe target for bigotry.
Corporations often want to push social agendas in their advertising, but mostly they want to sell products, said Susan Fani, director of communication for the Catholic League.: If making social or political points is going to hurt
product sales, it gets their attention pretty fast. Ultimately, the bottom line is what matters — and that’s why it’s important to speak out regarding offensive advertising.
Those who claim to be tolerant above all else seem to be intolerant of Catholicism. That may be because the Church takes strong moral stands regarding sexuality, and this society wants a more lenient approach to sexuality. The Church
represents opposition to much of what commerce wants to promote.