Gambling, fertility shaming and graphic violence: Ad Standards’ latest rulings

Gambling, fertility shaming and graphic violence: Ad Standards’ latest rulings

Sportsbet, Gyna Fertility, and ThePhoenix.cau all faced the gavel.

Gambling while golfing, women-shaming fertility ads, and sexualised violence were all subjects of the latest round of Ad Standards rulings, released this week.

This round of offenders of the AANA’s Codes of Ethics included Sportsbet, fertility nutrition company Gyna Fertility, and ticket outlet


A video ad (featured) for the online wagering platform was flagged after it raised concerns about safety, depicting a man watching racing on his phone while driving a golf buggy. The ad’s voice-over states:

“Nobody does it easier than Tee Time Tim Callaghan. He streams Sky Racing on the Sportsbet app. All while tackling the Southern Hemisphere’s scariest slice. Yep. Whether he’s driving a buggy or trying to dig one out of a bunker, this Sultan of swing doesn’t miss a second.”

The Ad Standards’ Community Panel found the ad to be in breach of the Code of Ethics as well as the Wagering Code: that advertising or marketing comms for a wagering product or service must not portray, condone or encourage excessive participation in wagering activities.

The panel cited it was widely recognised that using mobile phones while driving any moving vehicle is unsafe. Further, the ad showcased the man engaging in the wagering activity to an excessive degree – unable or unwilling to put the phone down to play golf with his friends.

Sportsbet confirms it has discontinued the video, and removed the ad from all media channels.

Last December, Sportsbet was part of a crackdown targeting a host of popular betting operators by ACMA after the industry watchdog identified violations of interactive gambling regulations. Others in the firing line included Ladbrokes, Neds and bet365.

The breaches concerned the use of “Fast/Quick Codes” that facilitated in-play betting on sports events, contravening regulations outlined in the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001.

Gyna Fertility

An Instagram ad for a fertility program shows a woman waiting for a pregnancy test with two characters, ‘Time’ and ‘Food’ discussing and predicting the result. The following dialogue played during the advertisement:

VO: Does fertility really decline after 35?
Food: What’s going on with her?
Time: Oh, she’s just waiting for another pregnancy test. It will be negative and I’m really not on her side. After 30, it only gets harder.
Food: What does she think is the problem? I probably can’t be helping.
Time: Like most women her age, she thinks that it’s up to fate and that she should just keep on trying and eventually something will stick, but, she’s almost too old. It’s a shame, really.
Woman: Oh my gosh, I’m pregnant!
Time: How is that possible?
Gyna: Oh, hey guys!
Food: Who are you?
Gyna: I’m Gyna, a program that helps women boost their fertility naturally. Look at her now.
Food: Oh I love babies!
Gyna: And it couldn’t have come at a better time. He couldn’t take much more ovulation tracking. We finally got rid of you [Food] and other sneaky fertility blockers that were preventing her from conceiving.
Time: So she doesn’t have to do IVF? Everyone is doing it now.
Gyna: Why would she do that for $12,000 without first taking our free fertility quiz and learning exactly how to boost her fertility naturally? We gave her an estimate of five months, and she was pregnant in four. 

Gyna Fertility ad

The ad was flagged for concerns about its targeting of people with fertility issues. One complainant commented:

“The ad is both misleading in content and offensive in the way it is targeting a vulnerable group – women with fertility issues and struggling to get pregnant. It implies that the fertility issues are their fault because of their age, and that diet can solve their problems. Completely dodgy content being plugged on social media feeds.”

The ad was found to be in breach of the Code of Ethics for discrimination or vilification. The tone of the ‘Time’ character in the ad was deemed to be humiliating and ridiculing, implying that any difficulties the couple have had conceiving were solely the woman’s fault.

The advertiser has not responded to the Panel’s decision. As a next step, Ad Standards will notify Meta of the breach.

In May, City Fertility Centre’s radio ad was similarly flagged for its inclusion of a voiceover repeating the line “you’re still not pregnant,” raising criticisms from complainants concerned the ad could potentially trigger and bully those facing fertility issues. The Community Panel concluded that the ad did not treat the highly sensitive topic with the expected level of respect for the audiences it serves, finding it in breach of Section 2.6 (health and safety) of the Code of Ethics.

A digital ad promoting the upcoming tour of the band Cradle of Filth was criticised for its depiction of a giant biting a naked woman, with blood dripping down her body. The ad raised concerns about violence towards women. Cradle of Filth ad

One complainant stated: “We are in the middle of a crisis about male violence towards women. This was posted on Facebook and is on the Metro’s website.”

The Community Panel found that while the image might align with the band’s extreme gothic metal genre, it was overly graphic as an ad, and that the use of sexualised violence was not justifiable. The ad was found to be in breach of the Code of Ethics for violence. has responded saying it has notified the artist and the venue, and assured it would be replacing the artwork with something generic, and will make a media announcement regarding the Panel’s decision.

See also: Racing Toyotas, sexual sauce ads, and child safety concerns: Ad Standards’ latest rulings

To Top