An oven-ready Lottery

McCain unveils the first promotional tie-up next week. Meg Carter reports
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The Independent Online
In The two years since the National Lottery's launch, many have tried their luck, but only two marketing partners have so far been licensed. McCain Food and mail order catalogue company Freeman's are now fine-tuning details for the first National Lottery-branded promotions which break in the new year.

McCain has bought a licence to use the lottery logo and ticket vouchers on-pack and in promotions. It is committing pounds 5m to developing the association and unveils its first push - for McCain chips - on 6 January. Freeman's has bought a licence for two years and will use branded lottery vouchers to boost loyalty and win customers. Its campaign starts on 1 January.

The benefits to National Lottery operator Camelot are clear. Licensed marketing deals offer an additional revenue stream and promote the lottery more widely at point of sale, says Robin Bowler, sales and marketing manager for Camelot division National Lottery Enterprises. Even so, Camelot waited until spring of this year to implement the scheme. "Our first priority had to be establishing the National Lottery brand," he says.

At the time of the scheme's launch, Camelot expressed hopes of striking 10 marketing partnerships. The time it has taken to confirm the first deal - McCain's participation was only announced last month - and the fact that only two have been done, has led to questions about the real value of the licensing deal.

Such doubts are fuelled by the guidelines laid down by Camelot to protect the Lottery brand. For a start, lottery regulator Oflot stipulated that no marketing partner should use the association to promote products bought predominantly by under-16s. To safeguard children's interests, it specified that no partner could be licensed if more than 25 per cent of those consuming its products in-home were under-age.

This effectively ruled out many breakfast cereals, confectionery and soft drinks brands. Other potential partners - such as participating National Lottery retailers and media organisations - were also ruled out. "We have to ensure we remain impartial and do not favour a particular supplier," Bowler explains.

Camelot also drew up strict guidelines governing how third parties can use its logo and present it graphically on-pack. It must always be seen against a white background, for example - which presents a particular challenge, graphically and spatially.

"Normally we would want it to be clear that ours is the main product," says McCain senior product manager, Andrew Riley. "Camelot has strong guidelines on how its logo will be used." McCain's lottery-branded packs feature Camelot's logo taking up as much as 25 per cent of the pack. Even so, he says: "We are pleased with the result."

There are a number of significant benefits in associating a brand with the National Lottery, according to Max Law, deputy managing director of through-the-line agency Willox Holmes & Law, which is developing lottery- branded campaigns for both advertisers.

"The National Lottery is the UK's biggest brand. Nine out of 10 adults have played the on-line TV draw, seven out of 10 do so regularly," he claims. "There is a great deal of positive feeling associated with it - emotive values on which a marketing partner is eager to draw." The chance to share in Camelot's "It could be You" dream offers warmer and more emotional benefits than many other third-party promotional partners, Mr Law ays.

To maximise its association with the good causes element of the National Lottery, McCain has developed a promotion that involves offering consumers a chance to win, plus a pledge to make a donation to charity.

For every number one drawn on the weekly TV jackpot draw, McCain has pledged to donate pounds 10,000 to charity. And should any McCain shopper win a jackpot prize, McCain will donate pounds 1m to good causes. McCain also plans to roll the lottery theme out across other products.

McCain is confident the link-up with Camelot will result in around a 20 per cent uplift in sales during the promotion period. "We know it's going to be a success, but don't yet know how successful," he says.