Tuesday, 24 June 2008

57 varieties of stupid

A week ago or so they started showing this ad on British TV:

I thought it was an OK advert. I got the premise straight away. Use this Heinz deli mayo we're selling - it's so good it's like having a real New Yawk short-order chef as your mum. Well put together - the way all the other characters act as if the mum/wife figure is still there - it's quite cute.

But it appears to have upset a few people. And by few, I really mean 'few'. Out of a population of ooh, 60 million, 200 complained about the ad to ASA, the UK's advertising watchdog. The expressed view, apparently, was that the ad was inappropriate and unsuitable for children to view.

And here's the kicker. Heinz pulled the advert as a result. Christ on a bike.

Just how does the sort of person who complains about this sort of thing get through their normal day? They must be empirically stupid. As I said, I got the central conceit of the advert, and I'm not exactly bright. I normally only understand adverts that say "Here is some stuff. It's ace. Please buy it." But I understood what the advert was about. It certainly wasn't about homosexuality. The gay men I know would probably make the mayo from scratch anyway. Or at least they'd have the Lite version.

And really, would it matter if the ad was about a real single-sex couple?

I realise a view like this infuriates the readership of the Daily Mail, but would showing a 'real' male couple matter that much in this day and age, or have we gone Victorian all over again? I'm not gay, but I support the changes that have gone on around me. Last time I checked, we'd given single-sex couples pretty much all of the legal rights as other ones. So what are people complaining about here? I mean, there are plenty of things two consenting adult men could have been doing with mayo that might have caused offence to some viewers. But I hardly think a peck qualifies.

The complainants said the advert raised the "difficult subject of same sex relationships". This is normally code for "I'm not equipped to talk about stuff with my kids, especially if it's out of my comfort zone." Folks, really, give it a try. We might end up with some enlightened and tolerant kids as a result. Heaven forbid.

And if they didn't want to have the Jenny-lives-with-Eric-and-Martin chat right now, all they needed to say was that the point of the advert is that the mayonnaise is so good it makes sandwiches taste like they've been made by a professional.

The mouth-breathers who complained are either too stupid to realise the central conceit of the ad, or else they're deliberately stirring up controversy for their own purposes. And Heinz are complicit in this by backing down and withdrawing the advert rather than trying to discuss it.

It was while I was reading about this that I stumbled across the online ad for Dunkin Donuts in the States that got cancelled because one person said the model's scarf promoted terrorism. Or something.

At this rate we're going to have a second "Christ on a Bike" in one post. There you go.

We have all sorts of Really Bad Things happening across the world. It is genuinely a scary place. Yet people use their energy to complain about fluff like this. So the more I think about it, the more I think that the search for extra-terrestrial intelligent life has a point.

Because, in the immortal words of Monty Python, there's bugger all down here on Earth.


City Girl said...

Bravo. THIS is a classic post.

I has everything: Great premise, a bit of a NY accent, interesting links, video, Christ on a bike (always a fave) and a new favorite, the "Jenny-lives-with-Eric-and-Martin" chat.

:: salute ::

Le laquet said...

I loved the ad, thought nothing of it other than "clever" until all the kerfuffle started ... "Christ on a bike indeedy" I though Bill O'Reilly was going to have a fit talking about it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCJo8MCwwnU ... guy needs a chill pill and probably an enema - I put my copy of Jenny lives with Eric and Martin on proud display in the nursery book corner this morning ;o)

fatboyfat said...

Thank you both. I was surprised at how annoyed I was at this.

Of course, it's perfectly possible that this (lots of people talking about an ad, bloggers covering it) was Heinz's intention all along.

sexy said...



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