Boycott News from Issue 114 Sept/Oct 2008
Gay rights group Stonewall is leading a boycott of Heinz after the company dropped an advert that featured two men kissing. Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill urged supporters to stop buying Heinz products.
”We’re shocked that an innocuous ad should have been withdrawn in this way” he said. A petition asking Heinz to reinstate the advert has so far received nearly 12,000 signatures.
The commercial is a skit on the conventional family breakfast scene. “Mum” is a male New York deli worker making up the kids lunch boxes in a chef’s hat and apron. “Dad” gives him a kiss as he leaves for work.
The Advertising Standards Authority received 202 objections from viewers who complained the advert was “offensive,” “inappropriate” and “unsuitable to be seen by children”. Ironically the advertisement was already banned from being aired around children’s programming because of the products high fat, salt and sugar content.
Summerskill commented “I think people are surprised [Heinz] have responded so swiftly to what appears, on the face of it, to be organised complaints, and a campaign by people who are determined to be outraged whenever there is any reference to homosexuality, however light hearted.”
All the complaints came in a two day period and within three days of the advert being aired, suggesting a targetted campaign.
Heinz said it decided to withdraw the ad after “listening to its consumers”. “The advertisement was intended to be humorous, not designed to cause offence to anyone,“ said the company. “Clearly it failed in its intent to amuse and that is why we took the decision to withdraw it.”
Gaydar Radio and a number of MPs have joined those calling for the advert to be reinstated. Diane Abbott has submitted a parliamentary early day motion calling on Heinz to reconsider its actions and nine other MPs have signed it. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg wrote to the Director of UK Corporate Affairs at Heinz stating that he was “shocked” by the decision.
Stonewall Info Line: 08000 50 20 20
Petition calling on Heinz to re-instate the TV ad
PETA and The Colonel
PETA’s “Boycott KFC” campaign received a boost this month when an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found that a leaflet urging consumers to boycott KFC did not breach advertising rules.
The material showed a caricature of KFC’s Colonel Sanders covered in blood, and grinning maniacally whilst holding a chicken by the legs in one hand and a bloodied kitchen knife in the other. The leaflet contained information about conditions in chicken farms including the widespread torture of chickens and methods of killing that PETA deemed to be inhumane.
PETA founder Ingrid E Newkirk said, “If KFC treated cats or dogs the way suppliers treat these birds, KFC would be closed down and all those involved in perpetuating this cruelty would be in prison. KFC has ignored the recommendations of its own animal welfare advisers, and we are letting people know that.”
PETA is now planning to step up its campaign against KFC in the UK after success with KFC Canada, which has agreed a more humane slaughter method and to serve vegan “chicken” in hundreds of its Canadian restaurants.
Pledge to boycott KFC or contact PETA on 020 7357 9229
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