Archive for June, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

June 25, 2008

One of the twitter feeds that I follow is the UK based Brand Republic (@BrandRepublic).

A few days back, I noticed that Heinz was receiving a lot of flack in London for a same-sex kiss in a commercial. They received (at that point) 187 complaints. By now it is over 200 complaints, and Heinz pulled the commercial, 2 weeks into a 5 week run.

If you read the article, Brand Republic makes a big deal to show that the commercial was not broadcast when children are watching because the product is either high in fat, salt or sugar content.

Now, a pro-gays right group is threatening to boycott Heinz, for pulling the advert.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1600158116/bctid1624825714

If you actually watch the clip, (which is clever, by the way), you would see that the ad itself is anything but gay. It supports a straight lifestyle, hence the children referring to the chef as “Mum”. It was simply a joke to show that if you prepare food with this mustard, you will be bringing a Brooklynese influence into your kitchen. The two characters are not playing gay roles, in fact, they are playing stereotypically straight roles. The children and the husband “don’t even see the man” they just see their mother/wife. 

It is an amusing advert that should have enraged the gay community more than the straight community in the first place.

In Shakespeare’s time, all the actors on stage were men, many of whom filled female roles. In those times, if a woman would have played a woman’s role, these same knee-jerk British reactionaries would have revolted in the streets. 

But Heinz should have never given in to 200 individuals, and offended thousands of people in the process. That’s just bad PR.