LONDON — Heinz Co. said viewer complaints prompted it to pull a British television advertisement for mayonnaise that showed two men kissing.
The ad for Heinz Deli Mayo depicted a kitchen scene involving two children, a father and a male deli cook with a New York accent, whom the children addressed as “Mum.” At the end of the ad, the cook kisses the father as he leaves for work.
The Advertising Standards Authority said it received 202 complaints, some that said the advertisement was offensive, inappropriate and unsuitable for children.
Heinz said the ad was withdrawn because of “consumer feedback.” Spokesman Nigel Dickie said Tuesday that the company apologized if it had offended anyone.
“Heinz pulled the ad in the U.K. because our consumer research showed that the ad failed in its attempt to be humorous and offended people on all sides of the debate,” said Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen. “Heinz apologizes for its misplaced attempt at humor and we accept that this ad was not in accordance with our long-standing corporate policy of respecting everyone’s rights and values.”
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly complained about the advertisement on Friday during his show, “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“I just want mayonnaise. I don’t want guys kissing,” he said.
British gay rights group Stonewall said it was shocked that Heinz had yanked what it called an “innocuous” ad and urged gay consumers to boycott the company.
The ad, which was launched on British television just over a week ago and was meant to run for five weeks, was taken off the air Friday, Heinz said in a statement released Monday.
The ad did not run in the U.S.
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