CommBank hits back at Sportsbet: 'We don't gamble'

By By David Blight | 12 September 2012

Commonwealth Bank has fired back at Sportsbet after the gambling business challenged the bank to a can-can dance-off, with CommBank declining to take part in anything resembling gambling.

This morning, Sportsbet challenged CommBank to a can-can dance-off in full page newspaper ads around the country. However, the bank has refused to take part in the competition, but has issued its own charity challenge to Sportsbet.

The face-off between the two brands has been building since last month, when Sportsbet created an online video spoofing CommBank's 'Ode to Can' campaign featuring Toni Collette. The bank demanded the ads be removed, while Sportsbet said at the time: “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."

In today's full page ads, the betting company said that if CommBank won the challenge, then Sportsbet would post the original 'Ode to Can' ad on its website while giving $50,000 to a charity; but said that if Sportsbet won then it must be allowed to put the spoof ads back up, while CommBank would have to give $50,000 to charity.

However, CommBank has declined to take part, saying: “When it comes to giving to our communities, we don’t gamble.”

The bank went on to say in a statement: “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 in the media 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."

The bank went on to issue its own challenge to Sportsbet, saying: “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.”

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