Another Sportsbet ad gets the axe after ‘inciting ridicule’ of women

Ad Standards has upheld complaints that a Sportsbet ad vilifies and discriminates against women.

Complaints primarily focused on the advertisement being sexist because of the stereotypes that women with blonde hair and those who partake in beauty pageants are not bright.


The ad shows a blonde woman taking part in a beauty pageant and struggling to answer a question about why Sportsbet’s new app is so easy to use, while the host cringes in response.

Four separate cases were opened to address the ad, as complaints came in from its appearance on free-to-air TV, subscription TV, TV on demand and Twitter.

The Ad Standards panel said that for an advertisement to be ruled as vilifying an ethnicity, gender or section of the community, it has to convey a negative impression of the people in that group.

In its ruling, the panel determined that “the current advertisement conveys the overall impression that women who enter beauty pageants are unintelligent, which is a negative stereotype, and in the panel’s view this incites ridicule of these women”, and subsequently breached the code.

Regarding complaints that the ad objectifies and degrades women, the panel agreed with Sportsbet that there was no sexual appeal present in the ad.

Ad Standards wrote: “The language and visuals in the advertisement did not draw attention to the woman’s body or suggest that the woman was a sexual object.”

The ad is part of a campaign that uses satirical and exaggerated stereotypes of people, including vegans, elderly women and recipients of plastic surgery, to demonstrate that Sportsbet’s app is “fool proof”.

In August, Ad Standards dismissed complaints about the first iteration of the campaign that featured disgraced rugby player, Todd Carney.

The ad that featured Carney made reference to his “bubbler” incident in which a photo emerged of him appearing to urinate into his own mouth.

The case for that ad centred around complaints that employing Carney glorified his previous behaviour, was inappropriate for children to view, made a sexual reference and was distasteful.
The panel ruled in that instance that the concept of ‘distastefulness’ was not an issue for them to rule on under the code, and neither was the point that Carney was being glorified by being paid to appear in the ad.

Other complaints against that ad stemmed from the perceived vilification of vegans, elderly women and Nigerian people, each of which the panel dismissed.

The beauty pageant ad was set to be remove from all platforms by Sunday 29th September.

The woman has also been featured in spots broadcast during the AFL finals series. Mumbrella has reached out to Sportsbet to ask if the character will continue to appear in later ads.

Last year, Sportsbet produced the most complained about Australian ad of all time. The ad, which showed a naked man from the waist up “manscaping”, received 793 complaints.


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