Red Bull Gives You Stereotypes

In advertising, cannibals, commercial, red bull, smoke signals by Adrienne K.3 Comments

Red Bull, the energy drink of the masses, presents us with a winner of an appropriation. This commercial reads like a check list of Native stereotypes. Apparently this ad aired heavily overseas (it can be found in many different languages on youtube), and first aired in the US back in 2009. However, it seems that Red Bull decided stereotypical imagery works, because I’ve gotten multiple tips in the last few weeks noting that they’ve started airing it again.

Here’s the transcript of the commercial:

(war whoops and drumming)

Brown Bear: Greetings White Dove, my heart is heavy
White Dove: Mine too, Brown Bear
BB: The end of the year is near, and we still can’t get together. Brown bear can’t jump that far!
WD: And White Dove can’t fly! We are only united in mind.
BB: Yes, but my body longs for you too.
WD: Oooh. *sigh*
Narrator: No Red Bull, no happy ending.
Watch the commercial here (sorry the embedding isn’t working):  

 So let’s see:

  • Tipis?
  • Smoke Signals?
  • War Whoops?
  • “Tom-Tom” Drumming?
  • “Indian” Names? (Brown Bear and White Dove? Really?)
  • Speaking in third person/broken English?
  • Sexualization of the Natives?

Check, check, check, check…

I also found this other Red Bull commercial that uses Indigenous people as “cannibals” (who the smart white man can escape by drinking red bull and getting wings!). Especially note the “daughter” with her exposed breasts and buck teeth. (Oh, and it’s in Italian, but I think it’s pretty easy to understand what’s going on):

So there you have it, Red Bull Gives You Wings Stereotypes!(TM)

(Thanks Virtue and Harsh!)
  • Wow – um, awesome job on the lewd Indian woman, Red Bull. I mean, wtf?

  • Gah, these ads are so gross! I hate them more every time I see them.

  • Jesus christ.