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Sportsbet challenges CommBank to cancan dance-off to settle copyright dispute

Sportsbet does the cancan

Sportsbet has returned fire in its copyright battle with Commonwealth Bank over the use of imagery and language in the bank’s ‘Can’ ad campaign, with a new offensive that challenges CommBank to a dance-off to settle the dispute.

A few weeks ago, Sportsbet launched an ambush ad that parodied CommBank’s Can campaign. CommBank responded by leaning on YouTube and Facebook to take down the ad on copyright grounds.

The ad is still viewable on Sportsbet’s homepage.

Now the online bookmaker has challenged CommBank to a cancan dance off. If CommBank were to win, Sportsbet says it will agree to delete the parody ad, post the original ‘Ode to Can’ ad on its homepage for 24 hours and donate $50,000 to a charity of the Commonwealth Bank’s choice.

Sportsbet has set up an email address, yeswecan@sportsbet.com.au, in readiness of CommBank’s response to the challenge.

The bookmaker has also placed full-page ads in several daily newspapers, and has organised for the Sportsbet cancan dancers to perform in front of CommBank at 385 Bourke St in Melbourne, at 10am Wednesday 12 September.

Sportsbet spokesman Shaun Anderson said: “We had a great response to our spoof ad and we think people should be able to see it online and have a laugh. A cancan dance off is a pretty fun way to settle our disagreement, but whether the Commonwealth Bank CAN step up to the challenge remains to be seen.”

However, CommBank has declined the invitation.

The bank offered the following response, focusing on its charity work and the importance of intellectual property:

When it comes to giving to our communities, we don’t gamble.

Like all major brands in Australia, we take any infringement or attempt to de-value our intellectual property rights seriously and will act to protect these as appropriate. As such, we advised the Advertising Standards Bureau of certain breaches of the AANA code of ethics regarding the recent Sportsbet ad and related activity on Facebook and YouTube. As a result of the complaints received the offending material was removed, and Sportsbet undertook not to broadcast the ad again.

Given our discussions with the Advertising Standards Bureau on this matter, it would be inappropriate for us to respond to Sportsbet’s advertisement today.

Commonwealth Bank is committed to make a positive difference around Australia in the communities in which we operate by investing in local initiatives and provides substantial support to many organisations. During our recent Centenary Celebrations, the Group committed an extra $100 million to community initiatives over the next 10 years. A recent example of our support was the announcement of the recipients of our 2012 Community Grants program. 244 grants have been awarded to organisations across the country that support the health and wellbeing of children, with an overall total of $2 million awarded by the Group.

Should Sportsbet wish to match our substantial contributions to Australian communities we would encourage them to do so while respecting the intellectual property of others.


In response to CommBank’s statement, Sportsbet marketing director Barni Evans told Mumbrella: “That seems different to the image of themselves they portray in their advertising.”

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