“Felicia the Goat” is an advertisement in trilogy of Mountain Dew’s company directed by Tyler Gregory Okonma, a American singer and music video producer, of which the content causes a strong public outrage over the use of racial and gender stereotypes through out all the three scenes of the video. The advertisement’s aim can be seen as to point out how delicious and addictive the Mountain Dew’s drink is by portraying the goat named “Felicia” as a aggressive goat who is apparently addicted to the Mountain Dew’s drink and and seems to suffer unease from the lack of Mountain’s Dew drink.
Whenever he drinks, he feels some form of hallucination, leading him to some form of aggression and violence. The scenes also portray how the goat exploits its masculine power to manipulate the woman to grant him what he wants—to give him the Mountain Dew’s drink in the first scene, and to not point him in the police lineup. Also the advertisement causes the heated discourse over the association of the black people with deviant and uncivilized characteristic traits. The analysis of the scene one is concerned with the gender and racial representation in the advertisement. The setting of the scene one is staged in a vintage-style restaurant, with three people and one goat involved—the waitress, the black man, his date, and the goat. The story starts off with the man telling his date that he notices a goat eating behind his back and how the goat aggressively tries to get a Mountain Dew ‘s drink from the waitress, and how the goat reaches some kind of hallucination after drinking leading to the request for more Mountain’Dew. The gender identity is represented in a stereotypical way that shows (1) how men are accustomed to violence and (2) how women are usually prone to the acts of violence and aggression, and (3) how women are more likely to associate with the service jobs.
(1) The goat in the advertisement is purposefully represented as a “male” goat, it can be noticed by the “male” voice actor. The reason can be due to the stereotype that male gender is more likely to commit violent and aggressive acts. Therefore using the “male” goat can reach the goal of the directer of portraying the aggressive acts of addictively trying to get the Mountain Dew’s drink, more than representing it as a female goat. Moreover, it can be seen the man who is on his date is indifferent and unconcerned to the violent act of the goat; he witnesses the situation and and says “he (the goat) is nasty” trying to do nothing and continues eating his food as if nothing happened. (2) The restaurant staff is a “waitress”, not a waiter, as one knows that “female” gender is usually physically weaker than male one, lacking physical ability to resist the force and therefore is sympathetic. With this notion, the directer uses the innocent female character to be a victim of the addictive goat to stress the feminine identity. (3)Women are more likely to work in service jobs.
This is quite self-evident if one goes to the places with service jobs, one tends to see more female employees than male counterpart. According to Kathleen L McGinn1 and Eunsil Oh (2017), female identity is commonly associated with gentle, generous, selfless, and engaging characteristics, which are favorable to the service jobs than men. That is why a female waitress is preferred in the scene, as it shows the natural reality of the current world condition. A bit of racial identity (and possibly a racist spot) could possibly be subtly found considering (4) how the black people in America are portrayed as inferior to the white majority.
The black man in the scene goes on a date with a non-white American (probably Asian), representing the common belief that the black are usually in a relationship with the black or the Asian, but not usually with the white American. The analysis of the scene two is also concerned with the gender and racial representation. The setting of the scene two is on the street, with two parties involved: the goat and the police officer. The story simply begins with the police man joyfully listening and dancing alone in his police car and then the same goat from the scene one just drives past him with a very illegally high speed. The police then follows the goat instantly and pulls him over.
No sooner does the police find out the Mountain Dew’s drink in the trunk of the goat’s car, that the goat runs to escape from the crime scene. A bit of gender identity is seen through (1) the use of male character as a police officer which confirms a stereotype of male identity as physically strong, brave and suitable for the adventurous jobs such as being a police officer, so it is no surprise why the directer chose to use a male character to be a police officer. As far as racial identity is concerned, it can be seen that the police officer in the advertisement is black and here comes the stereotype of the black American identity: (2) playful and sometimes not serious about something important: it can be said that the black police officer neglects his police officer duties by listening and dancing to the song in the car in his office time. This could be said to be partially related to the fact that according to Ken Padgett (2016), the black-face stereotype and many other sources (movies, TV programs, music videos, and so on) usually portray them as good at dancing, singing, rapping and staying playful all the time.
That could be the reason the black officer sings and dances along the song despite being in the duty, and the way he interrogates the goat, as well as the way he says the sentence “Looks like we’ve got a clear cut case of Dew.U.I? “, it sounds like he says the slang DWI, which refers to driving while impaired; this way of saying and acting is typical of the black people. The analysis of the scene three deals also with gender and racial identity of the characters. The setting of the scene is at the police station, where the prospective suspects are asked to line up for the female victim (the one from the scene one) to point out which one the real criminal who harms her is. The scene consists of one female victim, three police officers, and five male and one goat suspects. The story moves on from the the police lineup is conducted, and then the female was asked to pick out the real criminal out of the six suspects. The goat aggressively tries to mind- control her into not pointing at him from the police lineup.
The representation of gender identity is reflected through the stereotype of (1) how men are aggressive and violent while women are usually bullied and suppressed. It shows the use of masculine violence in a form of goat aggressively intimidating the female victim not to point at him, keeping mentally saying “If I get out of her, I am gonna dew you up”, which causes her a great fear and prevents her from pointing at the real criminal, the goat. For the racial identity, it is obvious as (2) we can see all only the black guys in the lineup, all of whom have tattoos, scars, do-rags, eyepatch, which reinforces the stereotypical view of the black people as deviant, violent and aggressive. (3) The black police officer standing in shadow, obscuring his face can be seen as a racist spot as the black men are portrayed as being inferior and unimportant. Some of the identity representation in the three scenes of advertisement is innocuous while other can be perceived as detrimental. In order to avoid offending people for what cannot be changed (race, gender, etc.), one should stop the reinforcement of certain offensive stereotypes whether through media or real life. Understanding each other’s differences is the key to live in diversified multicultural society in harmony and unity.
Most importantly such a advertisement should not be produced.