Aussie Sports Betting Operator Breaks Advertising Complaints Record

Paddy Power Betfair subsidiary Sportsbet challenged for sexual innuendo based advert

Paddy Power Betfair‘s Aussie subsidiary Sportsbet has shown a similar affinity for controversial marketing this week in a free-to-air television advert that attracted a record number of 793 public complaints to regulator AdStandard (previous record 481).

The complaints were that the fifteen-second production offended all sorts of civic sensibilities ranging from violence and suggesting that gambling makes men more attractive sexually to demeaning the male gender and deploying inappropriate sexual double entendres.

The presentation shows a waist-up and apparently unclothed man focusing on his lower body with an electric razor when startled by the advert’s voice-over extolling the virtues of Sportsbet and apparently injuring himself (this is all implied – not actually depicted, and the model does not exhibit signs of distress).

Sportsbet challenged allegations that the ad was demeaning of men or violent, and bemoaned the lack of a light sense of humour apparent in the complaints, attributing such to misinterpretation.

However, it rejected suggestions that there was any contravention of the AANA Wagering Advertising & Marketing Communications Code, and after “significant deliberation” the adjudication panel largely agreed, but found that the presentation “did not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant broad audience,” and was thus in violation of Section 2.4 of the Code.