A parody of the Fifty Shades Of Grey Trailer by online betting company Sportsbet is under investigation by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).
The online parody – which some commentators claim borders on bestiality – had received close to 65,000 views on You Tube following its release on Monday. Many comments to the video agreed that the controversial campaign skewed towards promoting sex with animals and advocated the mistreatment of dogs in greyhound racing.
The ASB told B&T it had received complaints about the ad, but as there had yet to be any investigation, it wasn’t forthcoming with the number of complainants or any possible outcomes.
The trailer features a woman in what appears to be a close relationship with a greyhound and has overtones of sex and bondage.
Sportsbet’s head of PR, Will Byrne, told B&T that the ad was clearly intended as a parody and dismissed any notion of animal intimacy.
“Fifty Shades Of Grey is going to be one of the biggest movies of the year and it’s clearly the ‘grey’ and the ‘greyhound’ is an obvious play on words and we thought let’s have some fun this,” he said before adding that greyhound racing was Sportsbet’s second biggest property.
“We’re known for cheeky, fun stuff and overall the response has been very positive for us. Most people have seen it for what it is and that’s good humour.”
Byrne dismissed the idea that there’s any suggestion of bestiality and said the sole intention “was to make people laugh”.
“There’s no suggestion the two are having sex,” Byrne said. “It’s just a woman who is very affectionate with her dog and enjoys a cuddle with him.”
It’s not the first time the online betting firm has courted controversy. Christians were none too pleased when it sent a floating “Christ The Redeemer” over Melbourne for last year’s World Cup. In a previous campaign for a British Lions Rugby tour it used a kangaroo shagging a lion with the slogan “rooting for the Wallabies”.