Sportsbet and CommBank go to war over ‘Can’ parody

Gambling brand Sportsbet is in dispute with CommBank after it created a spoof version of the bank’s “Can” ad.

CommBank said that it would take steps to have the video removed from social media because it infringed the company’s intellectual property rights.

The original featured actress Toni Collette reading “An Ode To Can”, while Sportsbet’s features a lookalike reading “An Ode to Toni”.

Facebook has acted to remove the video from its player, while it remains on Sportsbet’s YouTube channel.

Commbank issued a statement saying: “While we recognise that the parody is a bit of fun, we do take our intellectual property rights seriously as I’m sure does Sportsbet. We have taken steps to have the video removed.”

Haydn Lane, head of communications at Sportsbet told Mumbrella in a statement: “Some people CAN’T see the funny side of life, at Sportsbet we CAN. No one wants to be accused of being a CAN’T.”

The parody was completed in-house without agency involvement.


  1. Daniel-Jacob Santhou
    17 Aug 12
    3:05 pm

  2. Love Sportsbet’s balls in this :)

  3. Billy C
    17 Aug 12
    3:18 pm

  4. Aren’t there parody protections in the copyright law now?

  5. Blow Up the Pokies (and Sportsbet)
    17 Aug 12
    3:30 pm

  6. I wonder if Haydn Lane at Sportsbet thinks problem gambling represents the funny side of life? Maybe he should spend some time addressing that than having his head up his arse and defending this effort. And kick that dud Jaimee Rogers from your TVCs as well while you’re at it.

  7. B
    17 Aug 12
    3:35 pm

  8. If anyone from the Commonwealth Bank is reading this, you might want to check out section 41A of the Copyright Act before you embarrass yourself even further. I’ve even cut and pasted it for you below:

    41A Fair dealing for purpose of parody or satire

    A fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, or with an adaptation of a literary, dramatic or musical work, does not constitute an infringement of the copyright in the work if it is for the purpose of parody or satire.

  9. Martin Palin
    17 Aug 12
    3:36 pm

  10. Go Sportsbet. Milk it for every bit of extra leverage and PR that is coming your way. You deserve it for taking the punt.

  11. Maree
    17 Aug 12
    3:37 pm

  12. Seems Commbank left their sense of humour behind in that backpack.

  13. Lloyd
    17 Aug 12
    3:38 pm

  14. Brilliant – and great response from Hayden. Too funny.

  15. Jeepers
    17 Aug 12
    3:39 pm

  16. Fantastic, mind you gambling companies are still CAN’Ts themselves.

    Comm bank getting their knickers in a knot is pathetic.

    Sportsbet should do all their ads in-house. Much better than what droga do for them

  17. Steve
    17 Aug 12
    3:40 pm

  18. I take it Sportsbet are not a cutomer for CBA?

  19. norelle
    17 Aug 12
    3:40 pm

  20. Truly loathe the growth of betting sites and institutions and the reach it has in our community I think Comm Bank CAN win (not how I didn’t say I bet they can – I just hope they can CAN – gambling is so insidious – right up there with smoking except it’s a hidden addiction. sorry agency who did this but it needs to get personal – like big tobacco, big gambling should be called to account.

  21. RB
    17 Aug 12
    3:41 pm

  22. I would be more forgiving of this if it weren’t for a betting brand.

  23. Ms PR
    17 Aug 12
    3:43 pm

  24. Haydn – this is brilliant work and so much better than the com bank’s version

  25. Christabelle
    17 Aug 12
    3:46 pm

  26. I think if CommBank went the other way and shared it on their social media feeds going, “look at this, this is a funny parody of our ad” it would have been much better. Right now they just look like stuffy tight-arses.

  27. Kev
    17 Aug 12
    3:46 pm

  28. sportsbet CAN!
    unlike some ‘cants’

  29. Nicole
    17 Aug 12
    3:52 pm

  30. A lookalike????

  31. george d
    17 Aug 12
    3:54 pm

  32. For such a crappy campaign, the use of the term “intellectual property” by that CANT of a bank is laughable!

  33. Gold member
    17 Aug 12
    3:55 pm

  34. Their “UN-intellectual” property ?

  35. Paul
    17 Aug 12
    4:08 pm

  36. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery.
    Shame this is a poor imitation.
    Get an agency Sportsbet.

  37. norelle feehan
    17 Aug 12
    4:22 pm

  38. Truly loathe the growth of betting sites and institutions and the reach it has in our community I think Comm Bank CAN win (please note how I didn’t say I bet they can – I just hope they can CAN – gambling is so insidious – right up there with smoking except it’s a hidden addiction. sorry agency who did this but it needs to get personal – like big tobacco, big gambling should be called to account.

  39. a
    17 Aug 12
    4:29 pm

  40. can have a sense of humor about backpack bombs,
    cant have one about parody.

  41. kia
    17 Aug 12
    4:33 pm

  42. What Billy C said. I thought parody was protected? As it should be.

  43. Gutted
    17 Aug 12
    4:43 pm

  44. I hope Parodies aren’t embanninated. I’ve spent ages making Cumbrella!!

  45. Rob
    17 Aug 12
    4:45 pm

  46. CAN’T take a joke.

  47. Amanda
    17 Aug 12
    4:53 pm

  48. This is a stunt and a thinly veiled one at that! What an easy target they choose in the Comm Bank, spoofing their campaign designed to show how in touch they were with the hopes and dreams of the everyday Aussie.

    Sportsbet spoof pokes fun at the campaign and with the full knowledge that Comm Bank would react by asking it be taken down.

    This is exactly what they wanted, the social media campaign would be a failure if there wasn’t some infamy surrounding. It would have faded away into obsecurity as most poorly excuted parodies do.

    Sportsbet gets to look like the cool, funny company that CAN take a joke and Comm Bank (the butt of the joke) gets appear the as if they CAN’T take a joke.

  49. Just saying
    17 Aug 12
    5:01 pm

  50. Should they have parodied the bomb ad?

  51. Darren
    17 Aug 12
    5:12 pm

  52. What about British Telecoms IP – CAN was there campaign back in the 90’s

  53. Remix
    17 Aug 12
    5:52 pm

  54. Seen this one yet!!!? LOL This could spawn a few more too… Well done!!!

  55. Warwick
    17 Aug 12
    7:49 pm

  56. This totally appeals to your average Punter, who happen to be their target audience… well done Sportsbet.

    Bad luck to Comm Bank having their new multi-$m brand campaign hijacked, but CAN’T say that I feel sorry for em. Banks ARE an easy target and rightly so. Just ask YOUR agency planning team.

  57. Liam
    17 Aug 12
    7:49 pm

  58. Facebook takes the video down straight away, but refuses to remove racist content for days. Go figure.

  59. LOLCat
    17 Aug 12
    8:01 pm

  60. Nobody cares about this video and I Can Haz Cheeseburger.

  61. Peter
    18 Aug 12
    12:43 am

  62. Nice one Sportsbet. I laughed. Keep it up.

  63. Curious
    18 Aug 12
    11:31 am

  64. Genius. Who was the agency?

  65. SO True
    18 Aug 12
    12:48 pm

  66. … And they clearly can’t take the joke.

    CommBank could have turned this into an opportunity but instead shut it down.

    A bit of fun associated with their brand would make all the difference. They just keep making such immature mistakes.

  67. amused
    18 Aug 12
    1:04 pm

  68. There’s a four letter word that’s as funny any
    Has the power to draw a chuckle from many
    Sportsbet know it, and gave it a poke.
    And now we all know Commbank can’t take a JOKE.

  69. mumbrella
    18 Aug 12
    1:13 pm

  70. You were beaten to it by three years, gutted:


    Tim – Mumbrella

  71. Shamma
    18 Aug 12
    4:06 pm

  72. parody for commercial purposes can’t be protected. parody for parody sake can.

    this is blatantly commercial, so commbank has the right to have a whinge.

  73. Double Or Nothing? Nothing, thanks!
    19 Aug 12
    8:48 am

  74. Can’t believe how BLIND CBA are being here! Don’t they realise that a parody is a free kick to much desired, valuable EXTENSION of their campaign reach? Whether intentional or not, EVERYBODY – when watching the Sportsbet parody version – will think of CommBank.

    Yep, Comm Bank will be TOP OF MIND every time someone watches it – effectively DOUBLING the impression of the “CAN” campaign.

    Just goes to show, that Comm Bank really DON’T live in our world. Oh, hang on, that’s the other mob, isn’t it?!

  75. Wake Up
    19 Aug 12
    4:26 pm

  76. would all these morons saying ‘parody is protected’ please wake up?
    it’s protected if it’s for artistic purposes and non-commercial gain. this is for commercial gain, unless you think SportsBet’s only intention was to make a short piece of cinematic comedy, rather than an add punting its gambling service.

  77. Marto
    20 Aug 12
    11:01 am

  78. And now we learn that the CANT BANK top exec pocketed an average $63k PER DAY in the 5 months before retiring last year. And they worry about this kind of thing?