Ad Featuring a Man Eating a Bat Sandwich Draws Complaints

    The number of complaints to Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau is not known, but social media reaction to the spot has largely been positive.

    By Harold Henry - Jan 4, 2021
    Ad Featuring a Man Eating a Bat Sandwich Draws Complaints

    Screenshot via BFC Youtube

    In a new ad encouraging people to get outdoors and enjoy camping this summer in Australia, outdoor retailer BCF is the subject of complaints for the coronavirus-themed film that briefly shows a man eating a bat sandwich.

    The ad features a montage of clips showing of an Australian family enjoying camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities down under while their relatives living abroad are in the middle of winter.


    The bat reference in the ad, which was uploaded to the BCF Youtube channel last month, reflects the belief that the coronavirus pandemic came from bats, which are eaten as a delicacy in some areas of China.

    While the bat-eating man in the 45-second campaign spot, which was created by The Monkeys and directed by Tony Rogers, appears twice for only a matter of seconds, some might view it as making light of the global pandemic during a time when much of the world is still reeling from its effects.

    An Advertising Standards Bureau spokeswoman confirmed there have been complaints about the ad and have launched an investigation.

    “A number of complaints have been received about this ad, which will be assessed to determine if the concerns raise issues under the advertising Codes,” the spokeswoman said to the Daily Telegraph, which added it could not comfirm the number or the specifics content of the complaints.

    BCF, which is short for Boating Camping Fishing, has responded to the complaints saying that the campaign only sought to paint Australia in a positive light.

    “[The] campaign acknowledges the reality that many Australians will be staying home this summer and encourages everyone to explore all the amazing places that our own backyard has to offer.

    “Over the years BCF has established a tradition of irreverent campaigns in the spirit of good-natured fun. They will have their detractors and we recognize that.

    “Of course we understand the severity of the pandemic and spread of COVID-19 but it is clear that this ad is framed in the same spirit.”

    “It’s been a crazy year, so in true BCF fashion we’ve taken the opportunity to have a bit of anthemic fun with the situation,” said The Monkeys Melbourne chief creative officer Ant Keogh in a release when the ad was launched.

    Public reactions to the ad, which was released on the BCF Facebook page last month, were largely positive.

    MORE: Funny BCF Campaign Pitches Boating, Camping, and Fishing Items as WFH Office Supplies


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