Those naughty larrikins over at Sportsbet have created more furore with its latest Aussie ad that uses disgraced Olympic drug cheat, Ben Johnson, to spruik the online betting agency’s new online android betting app.
The Canadian sprinter was famously expelled from the 1988 Olympics after he was busted for steroids 48 hours after winning the blue-ribbon 100-metre sprint event.
In the Sportbet ad, created by BMF, the now 56-year-old says the app puts “the roid into Android”. Johnson was apparently paid $200,000 to appear in the ad.
The ad also pokes fun at a number of other sports people famed for their drug cheating ways including Lance Armstrong, the Chinese women’s swim team and Eastern European weightlifters.
Check out the offending ad below:
However, lots of people aren’t seeing the funny side, including federal sports minister Greg Hunt who has called for the ad to be banned and that Sportsbet “should know better”.
“To use a known drug cheat such as Ben Johnson to advertise their product is utterly inappropriate,” Hunt said.
News Corp media has reported that Channel Seven and Ten received “significant” complaints about the ad when it appeared in sports broadcasts over the weekend.
Independent senator and famed anti-gambling crusader Nick Xenophon said: “It is just wrong on so many levels – glorifying a drug cheat, tying it in with gambling and promoting it to kids in a lighthearted way.”
Xenophon will reportedly write to the Australian Communications and Media Authority demanding the ad be pulled and Sportsbet reprimanded.
Sportsbet’s head of marketing, Will Byrne, said of the complaints: “Sportsbet does not condone the use of performance-enhancing drugs … but we make no apologies for injecting some humour into advertising.”
Commenting on the ad, BMF’s ECD Cam Blackley said: :There are times when you concoct an idea that makes you laugh so much you think ‘nup, we’re never going to get that made’. Well Sportsbet booked our tickets to Romania and here we are. And to work with Ben Johnson, my boyhood hero, that’s the icing.”