Adwatch: A lottery of lotteries

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The Independent Online
"It's Winsday", Camelot's new campaign triumphantly declares. The National Lottery operator is spending pounds 8 million to persuade us to play its new mid-week lottery draw. Success, however, may not be easily bought: Camelot must combat not only the growing number other ways to have a flutter but ingrained shopping habits, too.

In the ad, a man spies through a telescope the magic hand of fortune pointing at him. Two girls pass by. "One day I'll meet my prince charming," one says to her friend. "It's me!", the man cries as he runs by. The girls shake their heads in disagreement and walk on. Little did they know...

Plans for a midweek National Lottery draw were announced last October. Camelot estimates it will generate an extra pounds 6 million a week in prize money, benefiting good causes by an estimated pounds 3.8 million a week. The new draw will take place on BBC1's midweek lottery show which starts this week. The timing is, to say the least, fortuitous.

Camelot originally planned to launch the midweek draw last spring. However, sales then were higher than expected. But by last autumn, Camelot was predicting annual total sales for 1996/7 would be down on those for 1995/6 - a result, it claims, of the volatile Instants scratchcards business.

A steady stream of new games are the life blood of the lottery and scratchcard business - a fact underlined by rival organisations, like Littlewoods and UK Charity Lotteries, which have introduced a number of new games over the past year. Now, Camelot hopes its midweek draw can boost total weekly sales by 20 per cent.

"Winsdsay", created by Saatchi & Saatchi, is in the same style as previous "It Could Be You" ads. But will it persuade us to spend more?

Occasional lottery player Mary Cartwright, 63, thinks not. "I enjoy a flutter on a Saturday night but if I bought one midweek too, I'd worry I'd be on a slippery slope." Frequent players, she believes, would play whatever the day. And, according to Sue Anderson, 32, who buys at least three tickets a week, she could be right.

"My concern would be what would I do if my numbers came up on a Wednesday, and I only played Saturday," Ms Anderson says. "It is definitely a clever way to get me to spend more."

Ninety per cent of us has bought at least one lottery ticket while 62 per cent do so every week. "This means the new draw is unlikely to grow total numbers playing much further," Glover says. "The longer term objective is to draw occasional players to play more often."

There is, however, the problem of growing competition. Deregulation is allowing more forms of gaming to promote their wares. Littlewoods, for example, is now running an aggressive campaign featuring Alan Hansen - part of a strategy to re-position itself as all about football rather than just jackpots. Glover believes this offers a lesson for them all.

"It's all about focusing on core strengths," he says. Which is why Camelot is likely to continue promoting itself as Britain's biggest prize draw for quite some time to come.

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