There are some interesting comments on the Heinz Deli Mayo saga from advertising professionals in the Guardian. One I liked was this one from Marco Rimini of Mindshare:
Of course the ad shouldn't have been pulled. The point of the ad is to use shock to communicate. It's bang on strategy. If it's going to succeed in its objective then why withdraw it? The real issue is, is it a good strategy or a desperate one and should the ad have been approved in the first place?
Is anyone really surprised that there are enough homophobes to generate more than 200 complaints for an advertisement showing two men kissing? If they are, it's doubtful they should be in marketing. This type of communication relies on shock - it's the shock that sells. Withdrawing the ad makes me think that it's just another example of the use of mainstream TV to generate publicity for an ad so it has a healthy afterlife on YouTube. It's not really an ad targeting the mainstream through TV, but a viral ad using TV as a launch platform.
At a rough tot-up of the four versions of the ad which I can find on You Tube, well in excess of 600,000 people have watched the ad so far, so Rimini could well be right.