Red Bull Titanic ad escapes censure

Red Bull has escaped censure from the advertising watchdog over a controversial campaign some viewers felt made light of the lives lost in the sinking of the Titanic by implying they could have survived if they consumed the energy drink.

Red Bull Titanic ad

The TV ad, which drew 147 complaints, featured crates of the energy drink being loaded onto a ship, prompting the captain to query: “why on earth would you need wings on a ship?”. It was then revealed the ship in the spot was “The Titanic”.

Complainants said the reference to the Titanic was “offensive” and “inappropriate” given the fact that more than 1,500 people died during the disaster.

The founder of the Titanic Heritage Trust, Howard Nelson, was among the viewers offended by the ad. He said the spot was “disrespectful” and “blatantly offensive”.

The Advertising Standards Authority said although the ad would be “distasteful to some”, it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or generally be seen as making light of the deaths caused by the disaster.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here