Home / The Brits: More Puritanical Even Than Us?

The Brits: More Puritanical Even Than Us?


The Guardian is reporting that Heinz has been forced to pull this television ad in response to viewer complaints.

From the Guardian:

The Heinz Deli Mayo ad has been pulled after less than a week on air after viewers complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that it was “offensive” and “inappropriate to see two men kissing”.

Other complaints include that the ad was “unsuitable to be seen by children” and that it raised the difficult problem of parents having to discuss the issue of same-sex relationships with younger viewers.


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  • Daniel Koffler

    Awesome ad. It wouldn’t have lasted a day in the USA.

  • Well, Lord knows the most important job of television and society is making sure parents never have to explain something difficult to their children.
    That’s why I’m against any commercial or show that talks about death, divorce, drugs, or medicine-y or science-y things I don’t understand that kids might ask about.

  • jon

    Mayonnaise. It’s a crime against nature. Also, it’s French and spelled funny.

  • drip

    Mayonnaise is French? I thought only mustard was French. No wonder the Brits don’t want to look at it.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    I spent a year in England when I was a kid in the early 1970s and I was amazed to discover that Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen, a book I loved, was considered incredibly controversial since it showed a child’s naked rear end.
    The Puritans may have settled on this side of the pond, but formally they never left the Church of England.

  • I appreciated this:
    The Heinz TV ad carried an “ex-kids” restriction, meaning it cannot be shown in or around children’s programming, because Heinz Deli Mayo falls foul of Ofcom’s TV ad restrictions relating to products that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

  • Scott de B.

    Mayonnaise is actually named after the town of MahUn, on Minorca in the Balearic islands.

  • mds

    Oh, for God’s sake, two guys kissed on Doctor Who back in 2005. Plenty of people still treat that as a children’s program. And yet the world didn’t end… at least not in that episode.

  • drip

    Mayonnaise is actually named after the town of MahUn, on Minorca in the Balearic islands. Now that’s some good news. Back to Mayo on my Freedom Fries and Salade Nicoise.

  • John

    It’s not even actually about actual gay people. It’s a joke – these British children’s mother has been replaced by a New York deli man. The father kissing the deli guy is played for laughs.

  • jon

    According to the infallible Wikipedia, there is dispute over the origins of the name mayonnaise. The widely used traditional recipe seems to have been developed in France from an earlier Minorcan version.
    An emulsion of raw egg yolk and oil. What’s not to love?
    Try some with your Freedom Fries (TM). Citoyennes du mode, vive la patrie!

  • drip

    An emulsion of raw egg yolk and oil. What’s not to love? Une bonne blague, mon ami! I am on a strict diet and under no circumstances am I to eat French food of any kind. I have now had to discard my second batch of Freedom Fries due to bad internet information. I have recently discovered that Gorgonzola is a perfectly acceptable alternative to Roquefort and shall use that as a topping on my Freedom Lover’s Fries henceforth.

  • aimai

    I think the add was unsuitable because it showed a new york deli guy with english kids. But aside from that I don’t have any problem with it. And you all remind me that I really think the very phrase “freedom fries” is redolent of a kind of euphemistic flair that makes me think its substituting for something obscene, like “prarie oysters”.

  • drip

    redolent of a kind of euphemistic flair. Elitist. Its practically french, anyway: redolent d’une sorte de flair euphEmisme. You probably want to make pharmacists slaves to wanton women, too.

  • Simple Mind

    You mean after Channel 4’s hit series, Queer as Folk?

  • jon

    Aimai, I’m sure that mayonnaise would work just as well on Prairie Oysters. Vive la difference!

  • aimai

    ya got me, drip.

  • elm

    I’m with Jon. This commercial should be banned because mayo is evil.

  • HP

    John @ 12:51 is right. This is not even remotely a pro-gay ad, because the deli counter man is in fact meant to represent a modern British housewife, preparing lunches for her family, in her kitchen, who has been transformed by the miracle power of Heinz Deli-style mayonnaise into a deli counter man.
    It is, in fact, a reactionary, sexist ad, that manages to reinforce a number of gender and ethnic stereotypes.
    (Also, what does New York-style mayonnaise even mean? I suppose it’s Heinz mayonnaise rejiggered to taste like Hellman’s. Anyway, to me “New York Deli” means kosher deli. Corned beef with mustard on rye.)

  • aimai

    I actually think you are right. There’s definitely another and slightly creepier reading of the ad in which the real female “mum” has been transformed, without anyone noticing, into a gruff, out of place, paper hatted, new york guy. I thought that too. But I failed to pick up on the equally strange and inappropriate mayo as a new york deli symbol. I hang my head in shame. And me the great great grandchild of a pickle man.

  • elm

    Yes, as per my post above about the evils of mayo, that comes from having grown up on kosher deli outside of NYC. As a child, I once ordered a turkey sandwich in a diner. When the waitress asked me what I wanted on it, I inexplicably froze and said after a long pause, “Mayo.”
    My father turned red, said to the waitress, “He means russian dressing. He doesn’t want mayo.”
    When the waitress walked away, my father turned to me and said, in a quiet, but menacing, voice, “We’re jewish. We don’t eat mayo on our sandwiches.”
    For the life of me, I don’t know why this is the case, but I learned my lesson that day.
    Mayo is evil. All advertisements of it should be banned.

  • howard

    elm, i didn’t have a thing to say about this post in general, but i spotted your comment about the evils of mayo and had to shout out “second.”
    like you, i don’t know why mayo is a signifier of non-jewishness but there you have it: i grew up without ever having mayo.
    as a consultant, i travel around the country and i swear to you (as you perhaps know), with the exception of parts of the northeast, you have to be very insistent that you do NOT WANT mayo on your sandwich (in pavlovian fashion, sandwich makers around this great land seem unable to avoid reaching for the mayo).

  • elm

    Yeah, I haven’t lived in the Northeast for most of the last 15 years. So I know the persistence of mayo. Hell, where I live now they try to put mayo on meatball subs if you’re not careful with them.
    And then there’s the mayo on the tuna sandwich when there’s already mayo in the tuna salad.
    It’s horrifying.

  • I used to get a nice sandwich from Soup Brothers in Milwaukee that had mayo on it. It was pork loin. Which I guess proves the point.
    Actually mayo on turkey sandwiches is fine, I think. With horseradish. Excommunicate me if you like.

  • aimai

    Yeah, what’s with the mayo hatred? I learned to love it on freedom fries in france (natch) and I still love it on a ham sandwich–so strike me dead already. What would BLT be without the mayo? russian dressing is to mayo what the phrase “penguin meat” is to pork in Israel. Just a fig leaf.

  • howard

    aimai, i have sometimes wondered about the origins of russian dressing, but i don’t go for that (or, matt weiner, for mayo and horseradish – just gimme the horseradish) either. it’s a cultural norm from my childhood that i’m happy to perpetuate as an adult, much to the amazement of my non-jewish wife….
    PS. i either just have straight blt (the t, assuming it’s a real t of course, offsets the dryness good enough for me) or, sometimes, with mustard….
    i can convince the local cuban sandwich guy to skip the mayo, thankfully, as he makes a killer….

  • drip

    As a survivor of Irish-american food we were taught that mayonnaise was poison, and in mom’s kitchen, it probably was.
    Anyway, I have exposed aimai as an Elitist for her frenchy ways and now she is attempting to hide her rampant francophilia. Don’t the rest of you join in. Mayo is bad because it is french! As for russian dressing well, it was brought to France by Russians, I’m sure. Stay away from all of it. Stick with butter.

  • elm

    No, I do have to agree that mayo on a BLT is good. Of course, the problem there from a “Jewish” standpoint is more the B than the mayo.
    My favorite mayo moment, though, was in a faux-NY deli in the midwest where they had brisket sandwiches on the menu. The deli actually served it correctly, but I was once behind a guy on line who ordered it on white bread with mayo.
    I’m sure there’s a fascinating sociological story on the topic of sandwich condiments and Jewish culture (in fact, I’d bet someone has written a Ph.D. dissertation on it somewhere) but damned if I know why russian dressing and mustard is acceptable, but mayo is not.

  • howard

    elm, it’s funny: from a “jewish” meaning “kosher” perspective, the problem is the b; from a “jewish american” meaning “sociological variation in norms between and among american social subgroupings” perspective, the problem is the mayo….

  • Isn’t there a scene in Annie Hall where Woody is exploring different religions, and when he converts to Christianity you see him carrying around a bag of Wonder Bread and a jar of mayo?
    Anyway, the mayo on fries should be flavored — I’m assuming nobody means to mess with garlic mayonnaise here, because if you are, we fight.

  • I think that is in Hannah and Her Sisters.

  • Hogan

    Annie Hall does have the scene where she orders a corned beef sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise.

  • Lesley

    elm, it’s funny: from a “jewish” meaning “kosher” perspective, the problem is the b; from a “jewish american” meaning “sociological variation in norms between and among american social subgroupings” perspective, the problem is the mayo….
    Ha! The first time I traveled to Iowa on business, my colleagues in the office there proudly told me that they knew that because I was Jewish I couldn’t eat mayonnaise on my sandwiches. At first, I was like “Wha? There’s nothing non-kosher about meat and mayo.” But it finally hit me. They were confusing a cultural proscription with a religious one.
    re: the ad itself. I don’t get it. On “Torchwood” Captain Jack is frequently kissing other men. That’s not a big issue, but a stupid commercial where the guy is only a guy because of the magical power of mayonnaise is a big issue?

  • Henry Holland

    No mayo on a ham and swiss on rye?!? Unpossible! (tm Ralph Wiggums)
    It is, in fact, a reactionary, sexist ad, that manages to reinforce a number of gender and ethnic stereotypes
    Like the way the deli guy lifts his one leg after being kissed? What, are ad guys in England watching Marilyn Monroe movies for pointers?

  • Lee Brimmicombe-Wood

    I must admit I haven’t seen this ad yet, or any of the purported outrage at it. But in an age where gay marriage is an accepted part of the way of life and where one of the highest rated primetime family TV shows, Doctor Who, has a bisexual action hero who is unafraid to deliver a man-kiss, I’m not so worried about the new Puritanism just at the moment.

  • witless chum

    All this mayo talk makes me need to see “Undercover Brother” again.
    I’m so white I’d never heard of that particular stereotype before seeing the movie, in fact John Ridgely may have made it up, for all I know.

  • aimai

    Wow, a two day thread on mayo! this blog rocks.
    As for the authentic jewish condiments question up above–schmaltz comes to mind. Mayo is just the vegetarian version a little whipped up. And don’t get me started on gribnes.


  • coozledad

    The tomato sandwich must have mayonnaise, a generous coating of salt and black pepper, and some sort of spongy bread you wouldn’t consider eating with anything else. If it holds together, you’re making it wrong. But what do I know? I come from the chitlin belt.

  • jon

    Mayonnaise is only acceptable in Grandma’s Tangy Sun-Ripened Egg Salade (TM), period.
    Perhaps the commercial was trying to illustrate the power of mayonnaise to transform the deli guy into a mother. The mayonnaise also transforms banal sandwich, needed nutrition, into an expression of love that feeds the soul as well as the body and represents the extension of the protections of home and family.
    I would also like to point out that families could also be easily divided by whether they stocked mayonnaise (Hellman’s) or Miracle Whip. Apparantly, ‘neither’ was not an option.

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