Last week, Sportsbet painted this ad on a stretch of land next to Melbourne Airport:
Yeah. It’s pretty horrible, isn’t it? Given the recent furore over gambling ads on television, you’d think that betting agencies would be trying to keep their campaigns discreet.
But, clearly Sportsbet just thought: ‘Nah. Stuff it. Let’s make a huge banner with a rape joke on it. Because rape is bloody hilarious, right?’
Parks Victoria asked Sportsbet to take the ad down, because:
a) They had painted it on Parks Victoria’s land without permission, and
b) It’s really offensive./There is a winking kangaroo raping a lion./Is this what we want to people to see when they touch down on Aussie soil?/The pun isn’t even that clever./Gambling ads are annoying full stop./THERE IS NO POSSIBLE REASON WHY THIS IS OKAY!
And so, reluctantly, Sportsbet did what Parks Victoria asked them to, and the ad was no more.
Or so we thought.
Today, it has emerged that Sportsbet have, in fact, capitalised on the controversy the disgusting ad caused. And turned it into an ad campaign in itself.
If you feel so inclined, you can view their ‘making of’ video, here. It comes with the tagline: “Big. Disgusting. Banned”, so you know it’s going to be a really classy affair, with maximum respect given to the authorities who ordered that the ad be removed.
And check out Sportsbet’s Facebook page this morning:
This isn’t a new marketing strategy. Remember Dick Smith’s Australia Day campaign? If a brand releases an offensive enough ad – even if it gets banned from the airwaves, or scrubbed off a field – the media attention it garners ends up giving the brand plenty of free exposure.
But, by continuing to plug their sick and offensive ad, Sportsbet are refusing to admit that what they did was not on.
And it was not on.
So, are you feeling adequately offended? Good. We are too. Here’s our proposed plan of action:
1) Visit Sportsbet’s Facebook page and leave a post on their wall. Let them know that this ad glorifies rape and is not at all funny.
2) If you’re not a Facebook user, you can still be offended, friend! Send through an email to [email protected] to the same effect.
3) Don’t stop talking about this. Sportsbet probably thought that, in the age of a 24 hour news cycle, what they did was last week’s news, and no one would mind. This ad is revolting. It is embarrassing. And it needs to be put to an end.
Do you think that this sort of behaviour is not on? Did you find the ad offensive?