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Red Bull 'Titanic' advert sparks furious response
A TV advert suggesting Titanic passengers may have survived if they had drunk an energy drink is facing investigation by an advertising watchdog.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has received 110 complaints about the Red Bull advert, and was set to decide today whether to formally investigate it.
Among those to have complained are the relatives of those on board the liner, while it has been labelled “despicable” by the founder of the Titanic Heritage Trust.
The advert, currently airing on British television, shows a crate of Red Bull being lifted on to an unknown ship.
But after the ship’s captain stops it being lifted on, the crate is lowered to reveal that the vessel is actually the Titanic.
The liner set sail on its maiden transatlantic voyage from Southampton to New York in April 1912, but hit an iceberg and sank, killing 1,500 people, including 550 crew members from Southampton.
Howard Nelson, founder of the Titanic Heritage Trust, was among those who complained about the advert. He said: “This commercial has used a tragic event where over 1,500 men, women and children lost their lives to promote its product in a despicable way. It is in very bad taste.
“It shows gross disrespect to the memory of all those whose lives have been touched by Titanic and have since been lost to us.
“Time has no bearing on this subject. If so, then all tragic events where there was just a single loss of life would be fair game for exploitation.”
Philip Littlejohn, grandson of Titanic survivor Alexander James Littlejohn, also complained.
ASA bosses are today due to decide whether it will be formally investigated, which could lead to a ban.
A spokesman for ASA said: “We’ve received around 110 complaints that the ad is offensive. We’re currently assessing the complaints to establish whether or not there are grounds for an investigation, i.e. does the ad potentially break the Advertising Code?”
Red Bull declined to comment.
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