Drug cheat Ben Johnson puts the ‘roid’ in Android in Sportsbet ad

Betting brand Sportsbet has put some of the world’s most infamous sports cheats in a new ad for its app.

The campaign – featuring the message “putting the ‘roid in Android” – features sprinter Ben Johnson, who was stripped of his Olympic gold medal in 1988 for doping. He later admitted he used steroids to break the 100m world record in 1987.

According to a spokesperson from the Advertising Standards Board, the ad received more than 50 complaints over the weekend.

The ad features Johnson sitting behind a desk, polishing a trophy, while a voiceover tells viewers “When it comes to performance enhancement, Ben really knows his stuff.”

A spokesperson said Johnson was aware of the script’s oblique references to his cheating.

The ad also features lookalikes of cyclist Lance Armstrong, stripped of seven Tour de France titles, the Russian weightlifting team who were barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics, and champion Chinese swimmer, Sung Yang, who was accused of cheating by Australian swimmer Mack Horton.

The ad was created by BMF.

Cam Blackley, executive creative director at BMF, said in a press release that he had not expected the controversial ad to get the green light.

He said: “There are times when you concoct an idea that makes you laugh so much you think ‘nup, we’re never going to get that made’. Well Sportsbet booked our tickets to Romania and here we are. And to work with Ben Johnson, my boyhood hero, that’s the icing.”

Since its launch, the campaign has also sparked controversy, with the Herald Sun, 3AW and the Daily Mail, Triple M among publishers who have written about the new ad.


The campaign will run across TV, digital, radio and social.


  • Executive Creative Director: Cam Blackley
  • Copywriters: James Sexton, Gooch Richards and Cam Blackley
  • Designers: Lincoln Grice and Matthew Hughes
  • Group Strategy Director: David Warren
  • Client Services Director: Dan Lacaze
  • Account Director: Will Woods
  • Account Manager: Siena Shuttler
  • Agency Producer: Mandy Payne
  • Director: Matt Devine
  • Production Company: Revolver/Will O’Rourke
  • Production Company Producer: Caroline Kruck
  • Post Production: Heckler
  • Editor: Dan Lee – The Butchery
  • Music and Sound Production: Rumble Studios
  • Sound Designer: Tone Aston
  • DoP: Adam Marsden
  • Client: Sportsbet
  • General Manager, Marketing: Luke Waldron
  • Head of Brand and Advertising: Simon Kennedy
  • Brand Manager: Kathy Schokman
  • Campaign Manager: Jason Thatcher
  • Brand Executive: Felicity Smith
  • Creative Manager: Raman Goraya
  • Post Production: Heckler
  • VFX Supervisor: Jamie Watson
  • Executive Producer Bonnie Law
  • Colourist: Scott Maclean

Mumbrella’s Sports Marketing Summit takes place at the SCC on June 21. More information is available via this link.


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