Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Heinz commercial response

Two weeks ago I encouraged everyone to contact the Heinz corporation (UK office) to express their disappointment over the withdrawal of that adorable commercial for their new Deli Mayo. I submitted my letter via their website's contact form first, then sent it directly to the email addresses of 3 executives at Heinz UK branch. Unfortunately, what follows is the obvious form letter I received - not once, but twice - presumably since I submitted it via both methods above.

Dear Mark

Thank you for your recent email regarding the Heinz UK commercial for Deli Mayo. Consumer feedback is very important to us and we appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Heinz pulled the ad in the UK because our consumer research showed that the ad failed in its attempt to be humorous and offended people on all sides.

Heinz apologises for its misplaced attempt at humour and we accept that this ad was not in accordance with our long-standing corporate policy of respecting everyone's rights and values.

Again, our sincere apology to anyone who felt offended. We appreciate you taking time to contact us to express your opinion and allowing us to address this issue.

Liz Pickstock, Consumer Contact Department

As I said, this is so obviously a form letter. But was truly puzzles me is that in the same breath they tell me that "Consumer feedback is important to them", yet they apparently didn't read my letters or they would not have sent the one above, with its "apology to anyone who felt offended".

I mean, come on! That was the whole point of my letter, that I was NOT offended by the commercial, but rather, disappointed that Heinz withdrew it due to some negative feedback.

I've received emails from several blog readers and friends to whom I emailed my encouragement to contact Heinz, and all of them have reported getting the exact same form letter.

One of my friends received his form letter on a day when his mood was not a chipper as it normally is, so he fired back this rather biting and sarcastic reply:

Dear Heinz,

First of all, let me thank you for your well worded form letter which does nothing more than anger this customer of 30 years. I am so utterly disgusted by the fact that you would refer to your ad as a "misplaced attempt at humour". It is nice to know that your attempt at humour is my life each day, glad my family and I can provide you with such laughs!

I am sorry that your marketing staff and public relations staff really missed the boat on this one. I hope that you lose many, many customers over this issue. I assure you that I will go home this evening, throw away all Heinz products and I will NEVER purchase another product from your company again. I will encourage all of my gay friends to do the same.

Many a company has lost significant revenues over grassroots movements. Here's wishing you a great day and may your stock price plummet and market share shrink!


I can certainly identify with his anger. The fact that they considered the commercial featuring a same-sex couple with children to be a "misplaced attempt at humour" is terribly insulting to all same-sex couples with children, as well as many other open-minded people like me. So I applaud my friend's righteous outrage and plan to send Heinz my own response to their form letter.

If you, too, received a form letter response from Heinz I encourage you to reply to it. (Yes, a 2nd call to action.) You needn't be as angry as Thomas, but you should let them know you do not appreciate a form letter with inappropriate comments and that you are insulted by their assertion that same-sex couples with children are humorous to them. How can we complain about the way we are treated if we don't tell them its insulting and inappropriate?

On a related, but more positive, food theme, my friend sent me this photo which made me laugh out loud.

Since VA is so tyrannical in many ways, it surprised me that the DMV allowed this license plate to be printed. They've refused to print many other, seemingly less offensive plates. I'm guessing the person who reviews them just didn't 'get' this one.

Crush du Jour: Evan Wadle


David Dust said...

"Kids - the OTHER white meat..."


Anonymous said...

And we thought John's wife was on our side! We were wrong!

Anonymous said...

And we thought John's wife was on our side! We were wrong!

Java said...

Ha! That license plate is SO good! I'm going to show it to my cousin in Virginia Beach. She'll either love it or hate it. :)

I sent a comment to Heinz, but haven't received anything in reply. I'm thinking big, bold letters, centered on the screen, "We like the gay commercial" and that's all. They would get the message if they read it at all. Just a thought.

RAD said...

Yes a form letter- guess its better than no response...Love the license plate ...Love Evan even!