A recent Sportsbet advertisement that aired in Australia set a new record for the Land Down Under, but it isn’t the kind of record that most companies seek.
Since it began airing in March of 2018, the ad in question has garnered a record 793 complaints from the viewing public. That eclipses the previous record, which clocked in at a measly 481 complaints.
So what’s in this Sportsbet ad that’s so offensive to the good people of Australia?
The ad depicts a young man in a bathroom who appears to be “manscaping“. He’s then startled by the voice of the narrator offering “head to head mobile betting”. The young man is so surprised by the disembodied voice, that he appears to accidentally cut himself with his grooming razor.
Something about this ad cut deep into the psyche of Aussie TV viewers and the complaints have been rolling in at a steady clip ever since Sportsbet first aired the ad. Complaints about the ad covered everything from the notion that the young man was somehow depicted in the act of masturbation to complaints that Sportsbet was somehow suggesting that gambling makes people more physically attractive. (Clearly these are people who have never been to an off track betting parlor.)
Sportsbet defended the ad in a statement saying the company, “…regrets if the jovial nature of the advertisement was either misconstrued or may have offended the complainants.” What they wouldn’t do, is admit that the ad was a violation of Aussie advertising standards. Ad regulators, mostly, agreed with the company but said that the ad did violate standards calling for sexuality and nudity to be treated with sensitivity.