Sportsbet Under Fire For Controversial Ben Johnson TV Ad
Guerrilla marketing is nothing new to gambling companies looking to stir up a storm. However a TV ad for Australian based Sportsbet featuring disgraced 100m gold medal holder Ben Johnson has sparked outrage down under.
Both politicians and sports officials are demanding the ad be pulled. In the ad Ben Johnson who tested positive for a banned steroid is seen as promoting a “juiced up” mobile app.
Pressure on Sportsbet to pull the as is coming from all sides including Federal Sports minister Greg Hunt who said it was utterly inappropriate to use such a drug cheat like Ben Johnson to advertise their product.
Well known anti-gambling proponent Nick Xenophon called on the national media watchdog to intervene and said it wrong on so many levels– “glorifying a drug cheat, tying it in with gambling and promoting it to kids in a lighthearted way.”
At the time of this posting Sportsbet were standing firm and were not prepared to pull the ad. A spokesman for Sportsbet said, ”Sportsbet does not condone the use of performance enhancing drugs … (but) we make no apologies for injecting some humor into advertising.”
This latest controversy comes at a time when the Australian government is looking to ban gambling ads from live sporting events before 8:30pm and for five minutes before and after the start of the play.