Mountain Dew & Tyler the Creator Team Up for Racist Ad

by Britni Danielle

Racist Mountain Dew ad

A new ad by soft drink purveyor Mountain Dew has many condemning it as racist and wholly offensive.

The ad, which is a part of an equally belligerent campaign, features Tyler the Creator and his envelop-pushing rap group, Odd Future. The spot depicts a beaten, bruised, and fearful white woman attempting to identify her attacker amid a lineup full of scary looking black men…and a goat.

How funny! *eye roll*

Though she has the support of the mostly white police officers (there appears to be a black cop in the shadows), the woman is too afraid to pick out her attacker—the goat—who continues to harass and threaten her. At one point, the goat tells the woman, “You betta not snitch on a playa” and “I’ma get outta here and do you up. Keep ya mouth shut.”

Although the perpetrator of the crime is a goat, the ad plays on nearly every negative stereotype of black men ever created–criminal, intimidating, scary, up to no good, prone to crime, untrustworthy—while attempting to make light of violence against women.

During one scene, the goat tells the shaken woman, “You shoulda gave me some more, I’m nasty,” which most likely relates to giving him more Mountain Dew, but eerily sounds like he is speaking of a sexually assault.

In another scene the cop tells the woman to “nail the little sucker,” while suggesting which man to identify. First, he says, “He’s wearing the do-rag,” then he points out the goat, saying, “It’s the one with the four legs.” Though his words are meant to be funny, it highlights the idea that when it comes to identifying criminals any black man will do.

Although the ad is satirical and was apparently written by Tyler the Creator, it still peddles many of the tired stereotypes black men have been fighting for years.

Dr. Boyce Watkins called the spot, “arguably the most racist commercial in history,” and the Daily Kos criticized it for being, “flagrantly racist.”

While I doubt this ad will run on TV, Mountain Dew, and its parent company PepsiCo, should have known better.

First of all, sexual assault and violence against women is not fodder for comedy. Victims of violence don’t need an obnoxious talking goat making light of their very real tragedies. Second, despite being helmed by a black man (who has joked and rapped about assaulting women), Mountain Dew’s ad executives should have know better than to release a commercial so rife with racist stereotypes that it has already been roundly criticized.

If Mountain Dew set out to create an ad campaign that would piss people off, then they succeeded. But if they want black audiences to start drinking their products, using Tyler the Creator and his brand of overly offensive “comedy” to make light of violence and racism is not the way to do it.

  • Ashley.

    Whoa. That was disturbing on so many levels.

  • Anthony

    No wonder Mountain Dew has hired Lil’ Wayne! He’s perfect for that kind of garbage!

  • Tina

    This is the same company that thinks Lil Wayne represents their product well so not surprised, but I would think the parent brand – Pepsico – would exercise some control.

  • http://www.urbanexpressive.com J. Nicole

    Seems as if the video has been taken down, but quite frankly, the write up is enough.

    I guess some will spin it as not being racist because a Black guy is behind it, but we all know our very own people can hate each other. Besides, I’m not convinced he had full creative control over it. I’m sure there were some marketing execs who added their two cents. Not to mention casting directors and the like.

    How long until they release an apology that they didn’t mean to offend anyone, blah, blah, blah…

  • sixfoota

    We’ll be getting an apology from Mountain Dew &/or Pepsi co soon. *eye roll*

  • DEE

    Tyler seems to like to use “hipster racism” as humor, I’ve never found it funny though, more offensive than anything.

    This is something I would expect him to do though. O.F. is usually only about shock value, gore, and committing gruesome acts in their lyrics.

  • Anthony

    I’m so glad I gave up Mountain Dew and other sugar sodas last week after I noticed that my waist had gotten wider. This ad campaign is even more incentive to leave Mountain Dew and other sodas alone!

  • Anthony

    I get your point, but my attitude is that if Mountain Dew is willing to use racist imagery to look hip to the young male demographic, then they are welcome to that market. They can also say good bye to my money.

  • Ann G

    She did mention in the opening paragraph that the group was Odd Future. I don’t think that fact really does much for context. It still rides home the same offensive image.

  • http://gravatar.com/pinklipstick227 pinklipstick227

    Actually, I find the first commercial to be equally offensive and beyond disturbing.

  • ADubs923

    just b/c a black man created the ad doesn’t give it a pass (not for this black woman, anyway). The fact that these companies don’t have the sense to know better than to waste ad money on such a ridiculous concept (not even clever enough to say, reverse the stereotypes) boggles my tiny woman brain

  • JS

    Agreed. I don’t see the vid as racist either. If anything I saw it as a parody of the “black man=guilty” stereotype as it points out the whole ridiculousness of the scenario.

    But looks like if Mt.Dew and Pepsi are down with Odd Future there is no way they are dropping Wayne for the Emmett Till lyric. Pick any Odd Future song and it will be 100x worse.

  • Rue

    Bingo about full creative control. The stuff on Mad Men isn’t all fiction guys…

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    I thought it was funny. To say you can’t joke about things like sexual assault is ridiculous. You can joke about anything you want–AS LONG AS IT’S FUNNY. Ask any successful stand up comedian.

    If you want to boycott the company or write and complain or whatever–that’s fine. But I laughed and besides the goat, beyonte was a touch of comic brilliance.

  • Anthony

    I guess am just behind the times when it comes to Internet advertising. My concept of advertising is to sell to the widest possible market, which means avoiding approaches that would clearly be offensive to large segments of the population. Internet ads take the opposite approach. I get your point about comedians, but if I am watching a comedian, I expect to have my buttons pushed. I don’t expect offensive images when a company is trying to sell me stuff.

  • The Other Jess

    After PepsiCo’s racist and stupid “Love Hurts” fiasco of a commercial that aired during the SuperBowl a couple of February’s ago (Black woman with bad hairdo beats up husband and knocks out white woman with a pepsi can) , nothing shocks me out of the Pepsi company.

    They have proven that they don’t mind accepting any submissions that degrade Black people and are simply and blatantly racist. Even worse though is that there are always Black people like Tyler the Creator willing to play the coon for racists – somebody cue Stephen from Django….

    At least this latest fiasco didn’t play on television like they did when deciding to degrade Black women..

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    I get your point about the difference between comedy and advertising. At the same time, I think in this instance, Mountain Dew is not really attempting to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, they are going for a very specific demographic. Like someone else mentioned before, their target customer is teenage boys/young men, and to appeal to that segment of people, they have to seem edgy and like they are pushing the envelope.

  • thequeenbee

    Actually there is another side to this: such a commercial also highlights the stupidity and futility of racism. Instead of blacks seeing themselves as eternal victims of racism and continually bemoaning on society to “stop it and leave blacks alone” Tyler is confronting it. The other side is: even when the perp is OBVIOUSLY NOT a black man and OBVIOUSLY NOT even human, blacks are spotlighted and put out there and cops are perhaps subversively trying to pin the crime on a black man. Everything that highlight race is not racism which actually is the denigration of one race by another which perceives itself as superior.

    As a race–we need to understand that the world is NEVER going to cater to our neurosis about certain words, or comments or antics and to persist in the conceit that if we whine hard enough and long enough we can dictate what people say (N word) or dictate what people portray (was anything more disingenuous and exploitative than django?) then we will remain disenfranchised victims. We do not have to “put up with anything” Blacks need a paradigm shift–instead of always bemoaning racist bs or comments or movies–TAKE CONTROL of certain words (redefine them, nullify them, etc) we are continually losing ground because in over 150 years our understanding and approach to racism and oppression have never changed.

    We are brainwashed to believe that MLK’s version of change and peaceful resistance brought about Civil rights success but it did not. At the same time of MLK was the real impetus–Malcom X and the like. (it was the threat of reciprocal violence and disruption that ushered in faster change, not sit ins) Because it was only when whites realized that blacks would not only fight back but might take the fight to them AND tear the country apart, did MLK’s “peaceful resistance” gain favor and recognition and blacks have believed in that ever since. (though economic boycotts DO work) Blacks also attack single issues and incidences while enduring systematic oppression, but we have been “trained” that way.

    Stand tall–stop bleating and start thinking–Tyler is NOT a coon he is a man trying to make money and perhaps make a point–we need to see the point and perhaps accept it for the prod that it is–everything that is uncomfortable about racism is not racism and everything that is said denigrating about a race is not racism.

    If anyone should cry racism about that commercial it should be white people. WHY? Because the commercial pointedly says that whites always blame the black man even when the perp is definitely neither a man or black–which is a put down of white America–but to SEE ad understand THAT veiled jibe–we have to be a bit more discerning of nuance than many of us are at this point.

    Perhaps the commercial sought to highlight the idiocy of profiling as well as sell a soda? Maybe the next will be Muslims on a plane, attacking the lone hijacking squirrel while the other Americans cringe in “terror” and are focused on the wrong person. Get perspective, people and stop the WHINE.

    I doubt many are as militant in outlook s I am and I can see the POSITIVE inference and nuance of this commercial …can anyone else?

  • thequeenbee

    Racist to who? Seems more racist to whites than to blacks. after all, the commercial is saying that even when the perp is OBVIOUSLY NOT black and OBVIOUSLY NOT even human, whites are too ignorant and racist to finger the real criminal. Everything depicting race is not racism and black eternal whining does not help our race.

    Obviously Odd future’s nuanced inference is lost on most people posting here. Says a lot about our discernment.

  • PrincessDi

    Regardless of what demographic it is trying to appeal to, the commercial would essentially be seen by all. Humor is subjective. Just beacause you think it’s funny doesn’t mean we all will.

  • EshuDC

    We created a petition to have the senior leadership (namely Greg Lyons – Vice President Marketing Mountain Dew) at PepsiCo formally address and apologize for running the ad. Please sign to join the movement:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/pepsico-apologize-withdraw-your-racist-mountain-dew-commercial

  • http://www.gallimaufry.ws T.

    “Actually there is another side to this: such a commercial also highlights the stupidity and futility of racism. Instead of blacks seeing themselves as eternal victims of racism and continually bemoaning on society to “stop it and leave blacks alone” Tyler is confronting it. The other side is: even when the perp is OBVIOUSLY NOT a black man and OBVIOUSLY NOT even human, blacks are spotlighted and put out there and cops are perhaps subversively trying to pin the crime on a black man”

    This is how I saw it too — the woman was obviously not assaulted by a black man, but the cops produced a line-up full of black men, to try to load the deck. I’m not even a Tyler the Creator fan, but I have to give him credit for what comes off to me as a kind of witty denunciation of the racist criminal justice system in the US. The goat’s smack-talking was a bit unnecessary though, but I guess it contributes to making it obvious that none of the black men was the perpetrator.

    (Some relevant trivia: ‘Felicia the Goat’ is Tyler’s Instagram handle.)

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  • L

    i didn’t see this video but from the description above, this sounds corny and not funny no matter what race they chose to cast. Mountain Dew needs to fire it’s entire marketing team. Maybe try to dispel the rumors that the drink rots your teeth.

  • thequeenbee

    But didn’t it sort of highlight that no matter who/what commits a crime, cops will try to pin it on the black man? Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results…and so… how is that protesting how a commercial/dj/ad/ music video/movie etc depicts blacks one at a time working for us as a race? as individuals?

    this is not our grandpop’s America anymore–we need a new approach (and outlook) to deal with the new way an old problems still haunts us.

  • Rochelle

    I didn’t read the article. But this guy tyler looks like a sewer rat. I mean seriously, was he born retarded? I never heard a song of his but I saw him accept an award. He had his mother in the audience but it did not stop him form lacing his speech with curse words, even though there were dignified musicians in the audience. I cringed. It was disgusting. I felt sorry for his mother, but her simple self was sitting there with a big smile on her face. This Tyler guy is everything thing that is wrong with musicians today.

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  • bob

    im going to buy mountain dew and i dont even like it just to piss people off.

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  • TT

    Tyler the Creator is loved by white hipsters. This ad has white hipster written all over it, because being offense is funny and ironic to hipsters.

  • thequeenbee

    Seriously? You did not read the article and yet you feel perfectly informed to comment on…(wait for it) the article… and the artist? You have never heard a song of his but deduce the artist is “everything wrong with musicians today? That is like saying you never bothered to read anything about the Iraq war, but you heard it was all based on lies…and after seeing someone throw a shoe at our President on tv, you are sure he and the rest of Americans are “everything wrong with humans today”

    How vacuous, uninformed and superficial did you mean to be? Because your post comes across , on a scale of 1-10 of about a 8 on the irrelevant scale. Read the article. Reading is fundamental if you wish your opinion to be considered seriously.

  • thequeenbee

    I find it funny that mostly blacks appear offended by the spot when the offense was clearly directed at abused women, animals, and racist, stereotyping white criminal justice systems. (actually not funny, but VERY ironic) and I am both black and a female–but not a goat or a Mountain Dew drinker. Stuff is just too sweet, too caffeinated and too darn lime green-yellow (looks radioactive)

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  • thequeenbee

    Please explain the racism in it? “racism being an established oppression or hatred of one group who feel they are superior to anther group” did you mean the “RACISM” that portrays all whites as judgmental, myopic idiots who want to persecute and prosecute all black men despite evidence often to the contrary? Or perhaps you meant the misogyny that depicts abuse against women as a joke or against white women as a joke? Or maybe you meant “specieism ” which seeks to put horrid human mannerisms and motives on an animal? Oh wait…maybe.. you meant merely showing a line up of black males only in a commercial is racist? It comes closer often to real life depictions–maybe more effort should be spent on teaching young black males how to NOT run afoul of the CJS than on lambasting or lampooning what happens in police line ups all the time.

    The irony is that this jab at the white people who want to convict a black man even when they clearly are not the criminal is being co-opted and whined about just because blacks were depicted in a stereotypical way.

    But HOW can the irony of blacks always being blamed no matter what be depicted without using blacks? Nothing wrong with this ad, other than it is tasteless–as for the black men in line ups–talk to us when you finish marching against every depiction of blacks in gangsta rap–that is stereotypical and negative also–but it’s “aight”, cuz it be art– and keepin’ it real–right? well guess what–showing a lot of black men in a line up is keepin’ it real too. If we don’t like it, change the truth not the depiction.

    I see no self hatred here–I just see an ad that strikes a negative chord making some blacks uncomfortable–chords do that–when they ring too true to be acknowledged.

  • thequeenbee

    What is the racist imagery? blacks in a line up? What is that imagery when it happens a lot in real life and the black men did things to end up there? they racist too or is that a ” shhhh, we don’t need to discuss that–swept under the rug” situation?

  • thequeenbee

    Lord save us all from self proclaimed victims in black ‘Murka’– who think that they are definitive arbiters of taste and sensibilities of the black race–it is a nightmare being held hostage to the neurosis and paranoia of people stuck in old paradigms whining the same old whine (ad nauseum) decade after decade and it is sheer hell itself when they think they have the right to speak on behalf of the rest of us. (but we all know there is a lot of money to be made in staying a victim)

    When people see life through the prism of racial victimhood, then even the mention of race or the REALITY of any comment has them screaming, and crying and demanding silence. well, guess what Black peoples?!!!!:

    “Even if Tyler the Creator did not make fun of it or put it out there in a parody–THIS YEAR there WILL be line ups with black men parading in front of crime victims and maybe even this year (forget whether certain crimes are committed on an even or odd year schedule) some white woman will be terrorized and mauled or harmed by a man and she will get to “pick a brotha” out of a line up as the perp whether he really did it or not.

    “Those who choose to ignore, repress or disregard or suppress history are destined to repeat it” This commercial is not racist–it has uncomfortable inferences to a truth we’d rather not face as a race–just like we don’t want to own up to the parts we play in torn up ghettoes, bad kids, torn up schools, people whose hair remains uncombed , and the FACT that despite many of us having ancestry in this country that goes back to the 15 and 1600s–and knowing no other language, a good number of blacks can neither speak or write English correctly.

    ooOOOOOPS…did I just write that? I guess that makes me a self hating, uncle Tomasina racist also. Those who cannot face or admit a wrong can NEVER improve because we cannot self correct what we do not acknowledge needs correcting. now all the black professional victims can vote this DOWN. lol

  • thequeenbee

    It most definitely IS racist–while making a parody about the biased criminal justice system , Tyler the creator ingeniously devised a spot preventing white actors from having a role and getting paid . White character actors who normally portray thugs ought to sue Pepsi and Tyler for reverse discrimination!

    Not to mention the unfair and ridiculous portrayal of black men being in a line up to be fingered by a white person for a crime they did not commit ..AS IF!!!!!!!!!

  • thequeenbee

    if this had been a skit on the Chappelle show or “In living Color” black people would have been laughing their heads off….

    Now anything with blacks in it acting OR portraying a negative is “racism”, 2013 definition of racism–anything said or shown about blacks (NO MATTER HOW OBVIOUS) that reveals an uncomfortable truth.

    Pitiful.

  • Rochelle

    Tyler?

    LOL. You seem angry….. For your info…… I’m not reading nothing. I can’t care less about this article or this monkey face person.
    People that curse in front of their mother, on a national stage are not my kind of people. But I realize that you are into that kind of thing. Hey maybe you and you mom smoke blunts together. Would be surprise since you are willing to attack a stranger on the internet due to a comment. Light one for me…OK.

  • Guest

    ‘Felicia the Goat’ isn’t talking like a black playa? The Jungle Book isn’t offensive because a black person played the role of a monkey, it is because the monkey is anthropomorphized AS black and simultaneously represented as SUB-human. Felicia is not even female. The goat is clearly talking like a black male, probably in the aspirational age range of the target market (which clearly includes white kids that aspire to be “black” as represented in such media). There have been great works of art that call out racism and sexism. This is NOTHING lke that. PepsiCo isn’t interested in thinking or visceral pieces that spark teachable moments. And if Tyler were, wouldn’t he have something better prepared? This is just where viral advertising lead by privileged identities goes. Those that are defending it should check that they’re not just feeling a little guilty that they laughed. You really shouldn’t have. Not unlike white guilt, really. So get a grip and learn from this one. It IS okay to call out a black man for being a fool and doing racist and sexist things. This conversation could be so much more than it currently is: expansion of a viral ad campaign intentionally initiated with racism and sexism impacts at a VERY cheap cost to those responsible while playing on the daily cost people of color and women pay every day.

  • thequeenbee

    Oh… I never laughed because by the time I heard about the video, it was already taken down. So tell us, when whites anthromorphized Felix the cat (from Tender vittles) or the dog from bush beans, or the cuckoo bird from cocoa puffs, or the horse Mr. Ed or the Charlie the tuna in the Starfish commercials, or Barney the dinosaur or the ape-man in the Geico commercials, are whites self hating or denigrating to themselves and practicing racism? I’ve been black for over 50 years and guess what? There is nothing holy or sacrosanct about being black. It is not blasphemy or sacrilege to be the butt of jokes occasionally, to laugh at ourselves. we try to take ourselves so seriously about how we are depicted by others but seem to lag about how we conduct ourselves. I am not speaking merely of how (if Chappelle had made this a skit, most who are upset would be laughing, I am speaking about how black people conduct themselves on a daily basis in public, how kids act or act up at school, how people do not even bother to groom themselves. Guess what? Equal opportunity means also equal access to be laughed at and caricatured. It is the ability to move beyond our supposed “high ground” which is usually only “high” when we want to chastise others. I did not see the joke but this I know–after a while the whining gets nothing but ignored or disrespect because the fact is, we are worried about others or from within calling us pigs–but we still do not clean our house. black men refer to themselves as “dawgs” and women as “freaks” and it has entered into everyday lexicon (I remembered the first year a brother told me I was “One , fine , freak” I took it for a monumental insult–”freaks” being a word usually reserved for gross deformities. But then we also coined the phrases “chicks and foxes for women and cats for men –but it was ok because we started it?

    Be moan and cry all you want–but the fact is–pat of equality (not favoritism but EQUALITY) is being treated like everyone else–and since whites also anthromorphize animals and give them ethnic and colloquialisms from their own race–then “equality means we get treated no better. either move beyond our history or stay rooted and be subject to it–and maybe we need to move that boulder a bit on our shoulders, the woe- is my pity party for 42 million is really wearing us down.

    I don’t know if I would laugh at the ad if I saw it since the others appeared amateurish and not funny–but I do know that having come of age when things were much worse and oppressive than they are now (but at the same time improving more rapidly ) I’d say it’s time for a new song,, if we want anyone to listen because protesting every time a white person or blacks makes fun of a black negative is silly, disingenuous and makes us look like cry babies–it also inures people to real issues–like the fact that black men are disassociating themselves from black females at an alarming rate and that they nor the white women they go with respect the source of all people and especially the source of black men–black women. Now THAT is a subject worth pursuing, not this silliness.

  • thequeenbee

    I’ve never seen a video by this artist not even this ad, though I did read the article and also googled this person prior to contributing.My mother is dead and she also never did drugs, nor did my Father–who was married to my mother. I am over 50 years old and the mother of 5 kids who are also (to date) grown and drug free.

    I have never done drugs in my life, but I do believe in being informed before giving an opinion as an opinion without being informed is called being ignorant and prejudiced. ..and you know black people know ALL about prejudging so we want to make sure we treat others how we would like to be treated. (the Golden rule–just in case you are a heathen and don’t read the bible before acting out either)

  • thequeenbee

    Rochelle…and your retort shows how judgmental and WRONG you can be:

    My mother is no longer living, she never did drugs, neither did my father (military man) and yes, they were married. I am over 50, a mother of 5–never did drugs and to date neither have my grown children–they were taught that getting “high” or using drugs was for weak minds. the fact is, judging someone without even knowing what you are speaking about is being ill informed at best, ignorant and prejudiced at worst. the bible says “judge not, lest ye also be judged” and “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you” or since you like to shoot your mouth first and not read at all, translate that to “treat others the way you would like to be treated” if you don’t wish to be judged without anyone knowing about you, try not to do it to others. another half raised Knee Grow, I see.

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