July 2nd, 2008

Keep Walking

Labour MPs pile pressure on Heinz over gay kiss ad

Colin Marrs Campaign 30-Jun-08, 12:25

LONDON - Labour MP Diane Abbott has submitted a Parliamentary early day motion calling on Heinz to reinstate its "gay kiss" ad.

Heinz withdrew the ad for its Deli Mayo brand, which features two men kissing, after the Advertising Standards Agency received more than 200 complaints.

The motion has been signed by five other Labour MPs, and says Heinz's decision is likely to offend millions of gay and lesbian people.

Diane Abbott told Campaign: "I think that Heinz totally misjudged this. I cannot find anyone who was offended by the ad, which was clearly intended as a joke.

"But I have spoke to lots of people - and not just gay and lesbian people - who think that the way Heinz pulled the ad was silly and offensive."

The text of the motion says: "Millions of children watch depictions of same-sex relationships in soap operas every day."

It continues that the ad was "not intended to be a realistic depiction of a same-sex relationship, and that the ad was intended to be humorous".

The original ad was created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

It was due to air for four weeks, but Heinz's move to drop the ad led gay rights group Stonewall to call for a boycott of Heinz products.

Heinz and AMV BBDO are refusing to comment on the future.
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Keep Walking

Silence from Heinz as MPs object to gay kiss ban

Tony Grew • June 30, 2008 - 15:25

A group of MPs have signed an early day motion condemning food manufacturer Heinz for withdrawing a TV advert featuring a same-sex kiss.

Meanwhile a petition demanding that the company reinstate the ad has been signed by more than 11,690 people.

So far nine MPs, all Labour, have backed the EDM by Diane Abbott.

It reads: "Millions of children watch depictions of same-sex relationships in soap operas every day … the advertisement was not intended to be a realistic depiction of a same-sex relationship … the advertisement was intended to be humorous."

The MPs said that Heinz's decision was ill-considered and likely to offend millions of gay, lesbian and transgender people and called on the company to reconsider its decision.

Last week the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg wrote to the Director of UK Corporate Affairs at Heinz expressing his disappointment at their decision and asking them to reconsider.

"The depiction of a same-sex kiss in this advert was innocent both in tone and content, and I am shocked that you decided to withdraw it," he wrote.

"The sight of two men kissing affectionately should not be considered offensive or controversial."

The Advertising Standards Authority received more than 200 complaints about the ad, which showed an innocent peck on the lips between a male New York deli chef, in the role of a 'mother' to two kids, and the children's father.

Heinz has declined to comment further on the row, having issued a press statement more than a week ago.

"It is our policy to listen to consumers," Heinz 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."

Any people offended that Heinz removed an advert featuring a gay couple should contact them for FREE on 0800 528 57 57.

Stonewall has called on all consumers, gay and straight, to consider a boycott of Heinz products.

What can YOU do?
See the advert and read comments about it on my blog at: http://mc4bbs.livejournal.com/183580.html

Add your name to the over 12,750 signatures on the "reinstate its Deli Mayo TV advertisement" petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/heinz/petition.html

Let Heinz know that YOU WILL NO LONGER buy their products and, as a gay man, will activily take a stand against anyone or any company that caters to the homophobic. Send them your commants here: http://www.heinz.co.uk/content/talk_to_us.aspx

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