Lady Luck aims to ride on Camelot's back

THE recent "lottery fever" over the pounds 40m-plus rollover jackpot has certainly guaranteed Camelot's place in the national consciousness. Now it is the turn of Lukcy lotteries. This week, UK Charity Lotteries, the company behind the Lukcy lottery scratchcard, launches a pounds 10m advertising campaign in an attempt to take on the Instants cards of Cam- elot.

With just 4 per cent of the UK scratchcard market, UKCL is Camelot's largest competitor. The company hopes its advertising catchline "Is Lady Luck With You?", devised by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, the advertising agency, can be as effective as the National Lottery's finger of fortune, part of the pounds 20m "It could be you" campaign created by Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.

"We didn't invest in marketing in 1995: we knew anything we did would get swamped by the National Lottery," said Andrew Slammin, UKCL's marketing director. "However, by October, sales of all scratchcards - including Camelot's - hit a plateau. I think people had simply got tired of the advertising. The market was crying out for something different."

UKCL's scratchcards are in direct competition with Camelot's Instants and a number of smaller players, including recent entrants Scratch 'n' Win and Little- woods. The business is driven by impulse purchasing and until now the market has lacked clear branding and product differentiation. Mr Slammin says: "Brand- ing is a key issue. People buy on colour, prize value or simply what happens to be on sale in the shop they are in at that time."

UKCL's marketing offensive will attempt to change this. Last autumn, the company announced it was dropping "Lotto" from its Lukcy Lotto brand name to create a short-hand for consumers. BBH's campaign builds on this. Ten-second TV teaser ads feature the Lady Luck character, declaring: "Be lucky." Two 40-second commercials reveal the identity of the advertiser later this week. They will be accompanied by a national poster campaign, newspaper and radio promotions. Mr Slammin says the aim is simple. "We want to be the number one brand in the scratchcards market - Instants is not a brand."

Lady Luck will appear on all point-of-sale materials and in associated promotions. She features on UKCL's new Lukcy Game card and a visual device is now being designed to appear on all other UKCL games. "The aim is to position ourselves as Virgin to Camelot's BA," Mr Slammin says. "BA is always seen as the bigger, establishment player - like Virgin, UKCL would like to be seen as quick-footed and more in touch with the consumer."

It is a subtle approach and one that eschews traditional thinking: other players, such as NHS Loto, which holds a weekly numbers draw televised on Channel 4, promotes itself on the amount of funds it donates to "good causes" - it gives 25 per cent of what it raises to NHS capital projects and claims this as "our unique selling point.". Littlewoods Lotteries also promotes itself on charity. "We see this as a valuable way of distinguishing our- selves from the 'win, win, win' mentality," a spokesman says.

While UKCL has strong charitable connections - raising funds on behalf of Rehab, a charity that supports vocational training for the disabled, Mr Slammin believes its approach is more realistic. "Initially, we felt promoting this would be the best course. But research shows that although good causes matter to consumers, the prize is the overwhelming draw."

UKCL seems well-positioned to achieve its goal of increasing its share of the scratchcard market from 4 to 10 per cent. For a start, its sales have been boosted by the success of the National Lottery - rising from 250,000 to 1.4 million a week over the past 14 months; turnover doubled over this period - to pounds 120m. It has also expanded its distribution network: UKCL scratchcards are now available in 20,000 outlets including some where National Lottery tickets are sold. It is also establishing its own purpose- built kiosks, some of which it will operate on behalf of Cam- elot, selling both operators' tickets side by side.

Last year Camelot granted UKCL a licence to sell both its Instants scratchcards and National Lottery tickets. UKCL aims to have up to 150 kiosks in shopping centres, stations and airports by the end of this year. "We are competitors, but we can also have a good business relationship," Mr Slammin maintains.

While future growth will inevitably come from taking business from Camelot, Mr Slammin says UKCL aims to expand the entire market.

Mintel, the market research company, estimates that the number of people regularly indulging in so-called "soft gambling" has risen from 70 per cent to 90 per cent as a result of the National Lottery, which still leaves significant scope for growth.

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