Red Bull has said that it will drop a commercial released in South Africa due to fierce criticism from Christians, who have said the ad mocks Jesus' miracle of walking on water.
Christians in the country, although not asked to take part in a full boycott against Red Bull, were told by South Africa's Roman Catholic bishops not to drink the energy drink during their traditional fast for Lent ahead of Easter.
The commercial has also been released in Brazil, where it has also received huge criticism. As revealed through a previous CP report, the commercial could be banned in the South American country by the National Advertising Council (CONAR).
In the cartoon ad, Jesus and two of his disciples are sitting inside a small fishing boat. Jesus suddenly gets up and with frustration says: "Well guys, that is it! Nothing is going to happen today! I am getting out of here!"
He leaves the boat and walks on the water.
"Oh Jesus, how can you do this?" questions Peter, one of the disciples.
"Do what?" asks Jesus.
"You are walking on water," replies Peter.
"Be cool Peter, he only took one Red Bull. Red Bull gives you wings!" another disciple interjects.
"No! That is not it!" replies Jesus.
"Could this be another miracle then?" they ask.
"There is no miracle here! You just have to be smart and find the rocks to step on," Jesus answers in the controversial commercial.
At press time, no action has so far been taken by any religious organization in Brazil against Red Bull. However, local media outlets are reporting that the Catholic Diocese of Rio de Janeiro is considering legal action.
Responding to the backlash Red Bull has denied any intention of mocking Jesus.
"Red Bull's intention was just to kid around. We even mentioned on the advertising that Jesus didn't need to drink a Red Bull to walk on the water. All we did was to suggest that you need to be smart to walk on the water," the communication department had said.
South Africa's Muslim Judicial Council has warned on Wednesday of the consequences of "secular extremism" against any religious faith, according to The Associated Press.
Last year, Red Bull's cartoon about Joseph and Mary was banned in Italy. In that commercial Joseph and Mary are seen carrying baby Jesus, waiting for the three wise men who are lining-up carrying gifts. However, instead of the biblical gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, one of the three is seen carrying a box filled with cans of Red Bull.
In 2010, in another controversial commercial, Moses is seen crossing the Red Sea with the Israelites by flying over the waters after drinking a can of Red Bull. As he does so the commercial announces, "Red Bull gives you wings." However, the biblical story of Moses describes him holding up his staff as God's power is used to part the Red Sea so he and the Israelites can escape through on dry ground.