A publicity stunt in which Drew Brees appeared to have been struck by lightning as part of a promotion for PointsBet has been criticized by an organization of lightning strike survivors, which attacked the marketing gimmick as being "inappropriate" and "disgusting." Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors International, an organization that helps those impacted by lightning strikes and other electrical accidents, objected to the ad campaign through a statement to TMZ Sports.
A video of Brees being struck by lightning while filming a commercial in Venezuela began to circulate on Friday, momentarily creating fears that the legendary New Orleans Saints quarterback had been gravely injured. As it turned out, the video was part of a promotion for PointsBet's "lightning bets" service.
Lightning Strike and Electrical Shock Survivors Internaitonal (LSESSI) was not amused.
"The recent Drew Brees lightning commercial is an inappropriate, disgusting method of promoting gambling or any TV commercial campaign," read the organization's statement. "This is a deadly injury, and it is disappointing to see the continual ridicule of lightning and electrical injury survivors in comical light in which it is presented for commercial gain and profit."
LSESSI went on to call the marketing stunt "unacceptable" and "thoughtless," invoking ideas that it set a bad example for children and also set back the organization's efforts to lower lightning and electrical deaths by "20 years."
Deaths by lightning strikes are not common: According to CDC data, 444 Americans were killed by lightning strikes between 2006 and 2021.