Red Bull’s Superhero Commercial

You know, I should probably just stop watching commercials considering how they manage to piss me off on such a regular basis. The latest culprit? This commercial for Red Bull energy drink.

The commercial starts with a costumed superhero snoozing in an armchair, when he’s woken by a woman’s screams for help through the open window. He heads over to the refrigerator to find a can of Red Bullâ„¢ so he can fly off to the rescue, only to find that he’s run out. So he covers his ears and shuts the window so he doesn’t have to listen to the woman screaming for help.

This is one of those commercials where I honestly can’t believe that no one pointed out what a horrible idea it was moments after it was suggested. It’s far too similar to the murder of Kitty Genovese for comfort. Maybe I’m being oversensitive since that case is directly related to the fact that I open my door to check if I hear anything even resembling someone screaming, but somehow I don’t think so. While the Genovese murder took place in 1964, how about this case from just 3 weeks ago where security footage from a convenience store shows 5 people stepping over a stabbing victim, including one who stopped to take a picture with their cell phone, rather than offering aid to the dying woman.

Once again, crime against women is being used as a random backdrop for a “more important” male character (or at least more relevant, since only the male character is ever on screen), but this one is particularly thoughtless and insensitive. I fail to see where invoking any of this is an effective marketing tool unless they’re trying to make me mourn the loss of basic human decency. Which is probably not the connotation they want their product to have.


  1. scarlett says

    Sounds… horrible.

    I’m stunned. I don’t know what else to say. I’ve seen that ad before but I hadn’t thought of it like that.

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    I’m appalled too, but I’m also confused because I can’t even imagine what they intend for this to put across. That Red Bull makes you a hero, and not having Red Bull makes you an asshole who doesn’t even call police or something?

  3. MaggieCat says

    Scarlett- I’ve seen it a couple of times before as well, but I usually flipped the channel or just stopped paying attention about halfway through when the guy the in the costume (I refuse to refer to him as a hero) made his annoying “no worries, my dear” comment because I was busy rolling my eyes wondering why that character had to be male.

    I had no idea how much worse it got when you actually watched the whole thing.

    BetaCandy- Well the tagline for the ads is ‘Red Bull Gives You Wings’, so apparently without it he’s incapable of flying. Now the fact that there are plenty of superheroes who can’t fly seems to have been overlooked.

    Hell, even Smallville manages to get this right on the few occasions they de-power Kent, and considering their numerous crimes against sanity that means there is really no excuse.

  4. sbg says

    Frankly, all the Red Bull commercials kind of rub me the wrong way (the one with the short little dog drinking Red Bull so he can fly up and mate more comfortably with his “wife” dog that is much taller really creeps me out), but I hadn’t really thought too much about this one beyond my knee-jerk reaction to all of them. Perhaps because I usually try to change the channel.

    It is rather disturbing.

  5. Patricia V. Strzembosz says

    I sent a letter to the company about it and they acted like I was the only person in the US to point out the similarity. I think the company needs a lot more letters about this.

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