Tue, May 16, 5:15pm by Staff Writer
Sportsbet are adamant they won’t pull their controversial new television ad featuring disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson despite an influx of complaints to ACMA and the federal communications minister describing it as ‘dumb’.
The ad, which features Johnson promoting the corporate bookie’s new Android App, has caused a massive storm across the media, with claims it glorifies drug cheats.
In the ad, Johnson acts as a defacto spokesman for the app, which promised to ‘put to roid into Android’. The add also features a Lance Armstrong impersonator and references to Chinese swimmers and Eastern European weightlifters.
The latest to add his voice of disapproval is Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, the man who has spearheaded the change to broadcast regulations to end corporate bookmakers advertising during live sporting events during children’s viewing times,
Speaking at a conference in Sydney, Fifield said ACMA would deal with the over 50 complaints they had already received about the ad.
WATCH: Sportsbet’s new Android ad
“Look, I think it was a dumb ad, it was ill-advised,” Fifield told Mumbrella.
“There are complaints, I know, that have been lodged with ACMA who will undertake an investigation and complaints have also been lodged with the advertising standards bureau and we will also examine those.”
“You have got to keep in mind community values and community expectations and as I say I just think that the ad was a really dumb idea.”
Sportsbet maintains it won’t remove the ad, as it believes not only is it perfectly suitable for broadcasting, but is also very popular.
“Sportsbet have no plans to pull the adverts from air – we’ve received overwhelmingly positive support from the public and they see it for what it is, a tongue in cheek joke,” a spokesperson said.
“You only have to look at the comments on social media and news websites to see that the majority of Australian’s love this ad – in fact some say it’s the best on TV and it’s hard to disagree with them.”
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