Universal Disgust at PointsBet Brees Lightning Strike Stunt FAIL

Written by:
Nagesh Rath
Published on:

Australian sports betting firm PointsBet is taking a lot of heat heading into this weekend following a viral advertising stunt that left sports fans and others horrified.

Reports first surfaced that NFL commentator and former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees had been struck by lightning while shooting a commercial for the online sports betting company, which is licensed in a handful of U.S. states including New Jersey and Colorado.

The commercial shoot reportedly took place along the Catatumbo River near Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela.  A viral video made the rounds by late Friday morning showing Brees in front of a camera preparing to film before a flash of light hits and the camera appears to fall on the ground.

Mike Florio of NBC Sports continued to report the matter as reality, posting a statement issued by PointsBet.

“We are aware of the media coverage regarding PointsBet brand ambassador Drew Brees. We are in communication with Brees’ team and will continue to monitor events throughout the coming hours. At this stage we will not be making any further comment.”


Not exactly comforting for those close to Brees.  

NBC Sports offered a late morning update to the story appearing at the bottom of the page:  "10:58 a.m. ET: Brees says he wasn’t struck by lightning. It was apparently a publicity stunt."

Readers were commenting throughout the morning prior to the "acknowledgement".

One reader commented:

"What a tasteless, classless and insensitive PR stunt!"

The PointsBet stunt comes as competitor FanDuel is getting called out for their tasteless social media campaigns.

Earlier in the week, gaming industry analyst and consultant Joe Brennan Jr. pointed out an unfortunate tweet released by the official FanDuel Twitter account showing an abused female bloodied and beaten with little in the way of any context.

She appears to have stepped out of a boxing ring of some kind, but her comments are cringeworthy.

"I'm super excited," the woman being interviewed says. "It was really fun.  I enjoyed it.  It was definitely a different ball game but I had a blast." 

FanDuel adds to the tweet:

"Me after going 1-for-8 on my bets this weekend".

Not surprisingly, Brennan Jr. posted what appeared to be a response to the tasteless PointsBet stunt on his Twitter feed Friday morning.

It took PointsBet close to two hours to reveal they were having "a little fun" with Brees and confirmed he was "alive and well."

"Time to let you in on a little fun we've had with @drewbrees guys. He's alive and well and 'buzzing' for a weekend of free bets. Keep your eyes on our channels all weekend for bet drops for US vs. Netherlands, College Football and NFL."

The response to the stunt was universal disgust.

Twitter user Alex responded to PointsBet:

"The cringe is unbearable. How about stop with the silly marketing ploys and focus on setting lines that are good enough you can actually take action on without limiting every single human using your platform. Worst sportsbook, thanks for the quick 20k though."

Evil Gritty mocked the stunt:

'Which sportsbook do you guys use?'

'I use DraftKings, they have good daily boosts'

'I use FanDuel, they have a great welcome bonus'

'I use PointsBet, they pretended to kill Drew Brees'

- Nagesh Rath, Gamlbing911.com

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