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Watchdog bans Red Bull TV ad for ‘sexualising children’

An animated TV ad for Red Bull featuring a young boy who convinces his mother to let him go to a strip club has been banned by the Advertising Standards Bureau because it “normalises sexualising children”.

The ad shows a boy feeding Red Bull to his pigs. He then asks his mother if he can visit a strip club, to which she responds, “when pigs fly”. When she looks out the window she sees pigs flying – a reference to the brand’s long running tagline “Red Bull gives you wings”.

The final scene of the ad shows the boy at a strip club sitting infront of the stage looking up at a stripper. She removes a boa she is wearing and throws it to him.

Despite the ad being aired after 8:30pm, the ASB said that depicting a child in a strip club was “inappropriate, even if viewed only by adults, as it normalises sexualising children”.

The ASB also found that although the mother allowing her child to go to the strip club was intended to be amusing, “it normalised inappropriate and illegal behaviour”.

While Red Bull agreed to pull the ad, the company said it was “disappointed” by the ASB’s findings.

In a statement Red Bull said:

The Red Bull Energy Drink television advertisements demonstrate the energising effects of Red Bull on body and mind in a spirited, fresh and cheeky way via cartoons portraying witty stories that are targeted towards an adult audience. The stories are imaginary and are not intended to be taken literally or too seriously.

We are disappointed that the Advertising Standards Bureau does not see the copy in this light.

Whilst we acknowledge that some members of the public may be offended by the humour portrayed in this TVC, it is Red Bull Australia’s opinion that as the Flying Pigs TVC was placed during adult programming only, the TVC was not insensitive towards the majority of the intended adult audience and we are therefore disappointed with the Board’s findings.”

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