Video Description: A Native American and a Pilgrim walk towards a small group of farm animals. The pig says, “Oh no. This does not look good.” The pig takes out a Red Bull from his non-existent pocket and chugs it down. Then the pig magically grows wings! As he flies away, he tosses the can to the cow: “Here. Oink. Have a red bull and pass it on!” The cow drinks the Red Bull. “Moo!” he says, then the cow magically grows wings! As he flies away, he tosses the can to the lamb, who drinks without speaking. The lamb magically grows wings, then flies away. As he flies, he tosses the empty Red Bull can to the turkey with the pilgrim and the Native finally approaching. The turkey bawks in fear and shakes the empty can. He groans, defeated. Cut to the indoor Thanksgiving scene: Around a table are a couple of Pilgrims and a couple of Natives. The turkey, now dead, plucked, and cooked, is served on the plate to the gleeful humans. The Native slams his fork and knife down, one in each hand, on the table. Narrator speaks as the text reads at the bottom: “No Red Bull. No wings.”
Awful. There should be no surprise that an advertisement mocking turkeys would also problematically feature Native Americans. Just look at the main Native American character: The headdress, the face paint, and the facial features. Ugh, stereotypes. And let me get this link in before there someone can say, “But it’s just a funny commercial!” It’s not funny. It’s harmful when the media creates and reinforces stereotypes.
And then there is the turkey, depicted as unintelligent and useless. The turkey can’t get his wings to work, so off to slaughter he goes. That’s so hilarious! Except it isn’t… This commercial is promoting the continual exploitation of animals for food, when there is nothing funny about the way we get our animal based food. Please watch this footage of Butterball turkeys being kicked, stomped, and suffering from disease and injury. Too bad no one gave those turkeys a Red Bull, right? This commercial is also perpetuating the myth that turkeys are stupid animals who cannot fly. Wild turkeys in real life can indeed fly, are sentient and have impressive cognitive abilities.
You know what modern turkeys cannot do? Thanks to being genetically altered, they cannot walk like they’re supposed to. And that’s not all: Turkeys also can’t mate naturally! Needless to say, we have done terrible things to magnificent birds. Please don’t support Red Bull in their gross depictions of both human and nonhuman animals, and please reconsider having a turkey for this Thanksgiving.