Much Ado About Nothing

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.

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.




One Response to “Much Ado About Nothing”

  1. Miriam Schwab Says:

    It’s kind of like Dunkin Donuts pulling the commercial with Rachel Kay wearing a black and white scarf that people said resembled a kaffiyeh. I had two opinions on that issue:

    1. She’s not wearing a kaffiyeh. It’s a black and white patterned scarf.
    2. So what if she was? It’s just a scarf that people use to shield themselves from the sun. And to say that it’s terrorist headgear is absurd, simply because terrorists tend to not be wearing them for various reasons. I recently saw a young Israeli woman guarding a tour group in the Old City, gun and all…and a kaffiyeh wrapped around her head.

    With companies, consumer pressure will always take precedence over principles.

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