A new Red Bull TV advert was condemned by Titanic victims’ relatives yesterday for poking fun at the disaster.
The ‘bad taste’ animated cartoon ad shows a crate of the energy drink being winched on to a huge ship and the captain questioning why they would ever need it.
A dockhand tells him ‘but Red Bull gives you wings’ and the captain explains there is no need for wings on a ship.
The crate is lowered back on to the dock as the name of the boat is revealed — as Titanic.
Advertising watchdogs have already received 42 complaints about the ‘tasteless and offensive’ ad and are considering action.
The ad has also outraged some of the relatives of the 1915 disaster which saw more than 1,500 lose their lives when the ‘unsinkable’ ship hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic.
Clifford Ismay, 57, a relative of Titanic owner Joseph Bruce Ismay, condemned the advert as “despicable.”
He said: “I have a sense of humour but I really don’t like the idea – in fact I find it quite sickening considering so many people died on that night.
“With their slogan ‘Red Bull gives you wings’ I can only assume that they are referring to the idea that if all those people had Red Bull – or wings – then they would have been ok.
“It’s despicable. I think the Titanic, and the people involved, should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Joseph Bruce Ismay was chairman of the White Star Line shipping company and ordered the construction of the Titanic.
The ship sank on its maiden voyage to New York but he survived the tragedy in one of the last lifeboats after helping others escape.
Clifford, of Workington, Cumbria, added: “I don’t mind people making a joke about things, but I don’t think lots of people dying like that is something you should be laughing at.”
The Titanic Heritage Trust, formed to “preserve, protect, respect and remember” those who died in the tragedy, also condemned the advert.
Trust founder Howard Nelson said he was considering complaining to advertising regulators.
He said: “It is very offensive and just disrespectful.
“We appreciate there will be commercial ventures involving the Titanic which we say is fine – as long as it is in good taste and respectful. This is not.
“There is a difference between making a joke and this.
“I get jokes all the time about icebergs and the like, taking the mick out of my interest in the Titanic, but that is banter.
“This is blatantly offensive because it is taking the mick out of the people who have passed away.
“It would be the same if someone did something similar about 9/11 – there would be an uproar. This is no different.”
The Advertising Standards Authority said: “We have received 42 complaints about the Red Bull Titanic advert so far.
“They believe the reference to the Titanic is tasteless and offensive.
“We’re only in the early stages. We’ll assess the complaints and establish whether there are grounds for further action. No investigation has been launched at this stage.”
Austrian-owned Red Bull have been asked twice to comment on the row but have failed to respond.