Complaints against a Sportsbet advert showing a “mindless bogan” wiping off after the gym have been dismissed by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) despite concerns the ad was alluding to masturbation.
The ad, which promotes the Golden Slipper race day, showed the main character covered in sweat patches, using his towel to wipe sweat off his shorts and his groin area. He later goes on to wipe sweat off his underarms and sniff the towel he just used.
The television commercial received a number of complaints for being “disgusting” in showing the sweaty man wipe his groin.
One said: “The vision thrust into my lounge room of some mindless bogan wiping his testicles with a towel, then wiping sweat off his underarms and then to go on to sniff it is totally disgusting and offensive.”
Another said: “I think it is gross and offensive. Not a thing that a gentleman would do in public.”
However other complainants thought the man wiping his crotch was suggestive of masturbation.
“It is lewd to see a man shoving a towel into his shorts in a faux sexual manner as the attention grabber for the commercial. The act of masturbation does not need to be alluded to or portrayed to promote their product.”
In its determination, the ASB dismissed the complaint on all accounts.
On complaints regarding the man being “disgusting” the watchdog noted that the issue amounted to an “ick” issue or a question of “bad taste”, which doesn't fall under the provisions of the code.
In terms of suggestions that the ad referred to masturbation, the ASB noted the ad didn't feature sexualised material.
“The board noted that when the man is wiping his genital region we do not actually see any of his genitals and considered his action is consistent with wiping oneself with a towel and is not in any way suggestive of the act of masturbation,” the ASB said.
Sportsbet responded by saying the advertisement was meant to be “light-hearted.”
“The advertisement is clearly intended to be treated in a light-hearted manner, and continues on the theme from a previous Sportsbet advertisement which showed the same two men to be obviously and humorously unfamiliar with common gym behaviour,” Sportsbet said.
“The use of the towel in the advertisement is another obvious and humorous ‘faux pas’. The light-hearted tone of the advertisement is emphasised by the voiceover of ‘oh lovely’ at the time that the man uses the towel to wipe the sweat off his short.”
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