GetUp! anti-supermarket pokies ad refused airtime by TV networks

"What you like to double or nothing?"

Australia’s major TV networks have refused to run a crowd-funded ad by activist group GetUp! that attacks supermarket big boys Woolworths and Coles for, the ad claims, owning “more dangerous poker machines than the five largest Las Vegas casinos”.

A GetUp! spokesman told Mumbrella that Seven, Nine and Ten have said no to running the ad on their networks, but had not given reasons why.

In the ad, a woman at a supermarket check out counter is duped into spending money she does not have by the man serving her, who turns from check-out assistant to croupier. The checkout till resembles the front of a pokies machine.

The ad picks on Woolworths, subverting its slogan ‘The Freshness People’ by changing it to ‘The Pokies People’. It also uses the logo for Woolworths’ Everyday Rewards loyalty scheme, which the brand has started advertising this week.

Ten and Seven declined to comment.

Peter Wiltshire, group sales and marketing director for Nine, said in an interview with SMH: ”Someone new coming along who chooses to use their own gritty tactics to foster their own business at the expense of ours, and our relationships with our existing client base does not make any sense to me.”

It is believed that although the ad had been CAD approved, it could not run on copyright grounds.

Coles head of corporate Robert Hadler said that the chain would not have intervened if the networks had aired the ad.

Woolsworth was unavailable for comment.

GetUp!, which had funded a media budget from donors who gave $50 or more to get the ad on air, has said it will run in cinemas instead.

The public issues group was behind an anti-pokies campaign last year that attacked Clubs Australia’s “It’s UnAustralian” legislation campaign.


  1. Waaah
    16 May 12
    9:05 am

  2. Hardly to “foster their own business” … What a donkey!

  3. Simon
    16 May 12
    9:11 am

  4. Coles and Woolworths bought hotels in order to access the take-home liquor market. Neither of them really have much of an appetite for pokies. Or running pubs for that matter.

    Get Up should probably spend their time (and other people’s money) on targeting, supporting and helping the very small amount of problem gamblers there are out there in the Australian public, instead of taking a pot shot (again) at a big brand just because they can.

    And am I the only one that finds it ironic that GetUp are asking us to donate $50 in the hope an advert might get to air and have some impact? Bit of a…urm….gamble?


  5. Bec
    16 May 12
    9:36 am

  6. Censorship.

    GETUP’s next campaign should target the networks and the multi-million dollar welfare payments they received in the budget.

    Or just wait for IP-TV to finish killing them off.

  7. Ron Jeremy
    16 May 12
    9:51 am

  8. Putting the message aside, I think they refused to run the ad as it’s such a crap execution they were worried their viewers might switch channel.

  9. Andrew
    16 May 12
    10:07 am

  10. @Simon. “…very small amount of problem gamblers ”
    Problem gambling effects as many as 500,000 Australians, representing a $4.7 billion cost to the community.

    It’s a big problem that needs to be tackled from the top, not the bottom.

  11. Rob R
    16 May 12
    10:10 am

  12. “the ad picks on Woolworths” poor Woolies being bullied again……….

  13. Rob R
    16 May 12
    10:13 am

  14. PS Bet Coles wouldn’t have objected, the brand it leaves you with is undoubtably “poor” Woolies…

  15. Anonymous
    16 May 12
    10:27 am

  16. Anyone know who made this ad?

  17. Get F&*
    16 May 12
    11:00 am

  18. These losers get enough of a free run in media friendly to their rather narrow view of the world…….it’s not surprising that if you spend your time and energy trying to break down the system then the system will tell you to piss off.

    Put your shite ad on youtube, get a few thousand views and a warm and fuzzy feeling then move on.

  19. jj
    16 May 12
    1:13 pm

  20. In my experience, a lot of the buyers working for the big clients get pretty shrill when something doesn’t go their way; threatening to cut the spend over some unfavorable editorial content – or POSSIBLE unfavorable editorial content.

    They are, of course, protecting the clients’ interests, which is as it should be, but I find it hard to believe the the clients themselves don’t endorse the behavior.

  21. Carole Goldsmith
    16 May 12
    2:02 pm

  22. Hmmmm, but shareholders can make a lot of noise about the pokies at the shareholders meeting. The TV co’s don’t want to run the ad as they are too scared of losing lots of advertising $s from Coles and Woolies.

  23. as if...
    16 May 12
    2:07 pm

  24. …any of the TV networks would ever let this get off the ground. God forbid, we make people realise Curtis Stone and Dawn French are funding Big Red machines around the country.

  25. Morris Philip
    16 May 12
    2:07 pm

  26. Simon, I’m sure that acquiring those pokie licences and reaping the subsequent gaming profits was purely by accident. Tell you what, if they are serious … donate the profits to charity.

    Nice to see such an even hand being applied considering how many times I had to sit through NRL matches hearing Gus Gould and Rabbits Warren bleat about it.

    If the shoe was on the other foot we’d never hear the end of how we’ve become a socialist or comminist nanny-state. Now that it HAS happened – where are the Neo-Cons wails of anguish. Completely absent of course.

  27. Archie
    16 May 12
    2:41 pm

  28. Simon’s claim that Woolies owns pubs so it can control the bottle shop is complete rubbish – Woolies created specialist liquour retailers Dan Murphy’s and BWS for this purpose's

  29. ... not Dick Smith
    16 May 12
    2:44 pm

  30. I’ve got a feeling there are plenty of better things to bag Coles and Woolies about than poker machines.

  31. Tabitha
    16 May 12
    2:58 pm

  32. donate to Get-Up, I don’t think so, thats the labour parties job, not mine

  33. Anonymous
    16 May 12
    3:27 pm

  34. Anyone who thought Tabitha was clueless now has proof. Donate to Gina Rinehart instead eh.

  35. Sholto
    16 May 12
    3:42 pm

  36. Can’t believe all the haters. I have a close family member who is a problem gambler and the effect is disastrous on the individual and the family.
    Defending Woollies and Coles’ practice of profiting from problem gamblers is disgraceful.
    The political parties have no spine and some readers here have no conscience.

  37. Carole Goldsmith
    16 May 12
    4:03 pm

  38. Let’s all shop at Aldi, much cheaper and I don’t think they are into poker machines. Boycott Coles and Woollies.

  39. Offal Spokesperson
    16 May 12
    4:11 pm

  40. Sooner or later SOMETHING will have to be done about the power that Coles and Woolies exert.

  41. Carole Goldsmith
    16 May 12
    4:20 pm

  42. I shop at organic markets, Aldi and farmer’s markets, really get fresh food and a lot cheaper than Coles and Woollies. Down with their poker machine….We are not shopping there at Coles and Woollies any more.

  43. Carole Goldsmith
    16 May 12
    4:26 pm

  44. I agree with BEC and are astounded that our hard earned taxes which we all pay to the government are being given more and more to people on welfare who do not work. How about rewarding the people who work, small businesses, more money to small businesses and there should be a Get Up campaign to reward people who work, not those who do not work…fed up with Labour Government handouts….people are going to have more to spend on the pokies of Coles and Woollies, so less handouts, less money to spend on the pokies…enough comments for today.

  45. Ethics
    16 May 12
    4:58 pm

  46. Australia is a nation of gamblers, which is sad, because gambling destroys familes and societies.

    Coles and Woolies are out of control and need to be broken up and taken on. A chain, hell bent on awesome food and doing good for the local community will occur, because Coles and Woolies do not do this, plus their food sucks and has been kept frozen or in atmospheric rooms for months…

    RSL’s are evil places. They are nothing more than casino’s. It is truly a shame and I am truly amazed at how a casino can hide behind the acronym RSL. An RSL should not be allowed to have anymore than 3 poker machines(.)

  47. tido
    16 May 12
    7:07 pm

  48. i’m surprised that ten wouldn’t take all the money they can get get, but similarly not surprised nine wouldn’t run the ad after their er, dubious editorial line from an nrl commentator,

    you see, thats why no ones doing anything, pokies, and problem gamblers specifically, are such a colossal cash cow for everyone no one’s willing to mess with the goose, politicians especially. hypocritical considering their willingness to enact laws restricting peoples personal choice in other areas, yet will quite happily sing the “personal choice” song when dealing with such a massive revenue stream. make no mistake, none of these people are on our side,

  49. Hoin
    17 May 12
    8:41 am

  50. Congratulations to the networks for refusing to run the ad. A total ban should be put on running anything from GetUp! – the Hitler Youth wing of the Australian green movement. I will oppose anything that puts cheap club meals for my family and kid’s sport at risk.

  51. Dwight
    17 May 12
    10:27 am

  52. Funny how the networks had NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER running the big mining companies anti-MRRT propaganda fallacious advertising! Wasn’t the Federal government of Australia an “existing client” in 2010….? BTW, Mr Wiltshire, “fostering your own business” and campaigning on a malignant social curse are actually completely different things. These ads were funded by everyday people with no pecuniary interest whatsoever – just altruism…people just like ME. Shame on you.

  53. m singh
    17 May 12
    11:25 am

  54. This add shows just how “Out of touch these people are” Get Up !lives in a Fantasy world . Thank Goodness, the Net works had the sense to ban this Drivel attacking Woolies.I love Coles and Woolies and get great specials from there shops.Aldi is good for buying fruit and vegetables. but most other stuff is inferior.You get what you pay for in this instance.And i dont have to pack my own groceries that are shoot along the belt at a mile per minute.Get up does not speak for us all.

  55. BustedPancreas
    17 May 12
    3:08 pm

  56. Thanks, Mr Singh, for clarifying the real issue here: Not having to pack your own groceries.

  57. Betty
    17 May 12
    4:28 pm

  58. This was a great ad and delivered the message very strongly.

    Woolies and Coles make heaps of poor addicted poker players.

    Shameful that it wasn’t run