Australians Condemn Ad Starring Disgraced Sprinter Ben ‘Puts the ‘Roid in Android’ Johnson

By Patrick Coffee 

So, to open with an established fact: many ads do indeed suck.

Does this new Australian campaign for aptly named sports betting company Sportsbet suck? The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency and the country’s minister of health and culture seem to think so.

The work plays on a very basic joke: onetime Olympic gold medalist Ben Johnson is an infamous cheater. Now please waste your money betting on sports!
“Puts the ‘roid’ in Android,” get it?

Russian stereotypes are also particularly relevant at the moment. And remember, Russian authorities now fully admit to the 2014 Sochi doping conspiracy.
Turns out, though, that Australian regulators were more upset about this campaign than British people were about the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish disaster.

An ASADA spokesman told the AP:

“This advert makes light of the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport and sends the completely wrong message that the use of drugs in sport is normal.”

Minister of health and sport Greg Hunt called it “utterly inappropriate,” but a client spokesperson said Sportsbet has received “overwhelmingly positive support” for this “tongue-in-cheek joke.”

The Australian equivalent of Paddy Power, which signed Sydney’s BMF as its creative agency a couple of years ago, has had multiple ads banned by relevant authorities in recent years.

It’s almost like the brand relies on controversy…