By Peter J. Smith
LONDON, June 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Trying to sell mayonnaise has turned messy for Heinz, the US food giant that has found itself in a public relations pickle as pro-family and homosexual organisations both are threatening boycotts. The controversy is over a British television advert that appeared to use mayonnaise as spread for the gay agenda.
As part of an advertising campaign for its Heinz Deli Mayo in the United Kingdom, a Heinz advert features a brawny New York deli man making sandwiches for two children going off to school. The children call him “mum,” and just before the “father” of the family goes off to work the two men exchange a kiss.
The deli man says in his thick New York accent, “Love ya! Straight home from work, sweet cheeks.”
Heinz pulled the ad June 20 after more than 200 complaints were submitted to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), in which viewers complained the ad was “offensive” and “unsuitable to be seen by children.” The ASA will decide in a few days whether or not to launch an investigation.
Heinz UK explained that the advert was supposed to be a funny twist on the traditional mother preparing packed lunches for her children and husband. In this case, Heinz explained that the point was that its New York Deli Mayo was so authentic that “mum” becomes as good as a real New York delicatessen man.
Nevertheless the American Family Association in a June 24 action alert told its members to spread the word that Heinz was pushing homosexual marriage, since the ad without any varnished explanations appeared to feature a “homosexual family” with two homosexuals kissing. The AFA encouraged its members to voice their protest with Heinz to make sure that the food giant did not try the same thing in North America.
The AFA stated, “It is the kind of ad which we can expect to see in California as they prepare to vote on homosexual marriage.”
However, Stonewall, a UK-based homosexual activist organisation, is now demanding that homosexuals boycott Heinz products for pulling the ad, because they are offended. Stonewall wants the ad which appeared only for a week to finish its five week run.
Homosexual activists have gathered 1300 signatures on a petition online to request the advert be reinstated.
Six Labour parliamentarians also filed a motion in the House of Commons condemning Heinz’s decision to pull the ad, since it would offend homosexuals and “millions of children watch depictions of same-sex relationships in soap operas every day.”
The MPs added, however, that while they believed exposing children to homosexual lifestyles on television was entirely legitimate, current rules designed to shield children from pernicious advertisements of foods with high levels of fat, sugar or salt that could lead to obesity, would have made sure the Heinz mayonnaise ad did not appear during children’s programmes.
Heinz officials are trying to extricate themselves from the messy situation.
“We recognise that we have offended people on all sides. But we are not trying to take sides here, we are a food company,” Nigel Dickie, Heinz communications chief in the UK, said according to the Daily Mail.
See the former Heinz advertisement: