"Banning the Mr T Snickers and Heinz 'male kiss' ads defies common sense"

Paul Shearer shares his two pence in the organgrinder / guardian blog here.

Being in the ad business I was drawn to the commotion over the banning of a second commercial in barely a monthwrites Paul Shearer.

There is nothing we like more than to have your work banned. Free advertising here we come. But it's was not as simple as that.

The first was a commercial for Heinz where two guys give each a sloppy kiss over a chopping board. And the second sees Mr T giving a jogger the kiss of macho death for being too soft.

What's so amazing is that the ads were pulled because of complaints from the US. We Brits are supposed to be the upholders of all things Godlike.

Is it the Obama influence? Or has Mr Bush got too much time on his hands and is watching daytime Freeview?

Come on! We don't complain that the World Series does not include anyone outside the US. Or that you never let Elvis come here to visit us.

The serious point I see in all this is that once again advertising is being left behind by the real world and by that I mean TV programme-makers. If we lose our edge, fast forwarding through the ads will be the norm.

Let's look at the facts here. Kissing men have been in ads for years and over the top macho is come and gone. Levis had men stripping in public 30 years ago. Banning these ads defies common sense.

By not treating overreaction with a swift boot up the backside we are putting TV commercials even further behind the programme-makers.

Programme-makers would scoff at the ridiculous restrictions we ad people bring upon ourselves.

Companies like HBO stand up to these pipe and slipper brigades and produce visual feasts of relevance. Advertising needs to do the same. Well at least make an attempt.

But how can we if we can't flick off stupidity. We should simply say, "get a life" to trivial complaints and then chase hard to keep up with the real world of programme-makers.

But we also need clients to stand fast and stop pretending that family values are the same now as they were in 1967.

When you are relevant, consumers love your products and your advertising. They will love you more if you have a touch of courage and tell TV stations that you will pull your advertising if the governing bodies don't see sense.

Don't get me wrong, we need to make sure that what we see in our ads are regulated, but two guys kissing can be seen on most streets in most cities and Mr T is a character from a 80s TV show.

The question is why are the views of the few winning over the views of the many?

I could say that this is just a few people getting their Snickers in a twist. However, I think this is, and could remain, a major problem within the advertising industry in years to come.

There is too much invisible advertising on our screens without a point of view for us to yank off the interesting stuff. As I said our industry must catch up with present day and not be drawn back into nonsense like what has happened with these two ads.

The British advertising industry adds much to the country's economy. It would be good if it could be protected from these "Fools", in the words of Mr T.

See also yesterdays post by moi Suddenly, all ads are banned for homophobia? First Heinz, then Snickers - now Nike. in case you missed it.

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Dabitch's picture

I really wanted to have a clip here of Cary Grant as David in "Bringing up baby" wearing a women's boa-collared negligee yelling: "Because I just went gay all of a sudden!" listen here.

willum's picture


What a load of crap, I think they are great ads! Get over this political bull shit!!!

Neo's picture

Interesting that in both cases complaints from the US caused the ads to be withdrawn in the UK.

I guess people in the UK should stick to UK brands then.