All too often gambling adverts come underfire by the Advertising Standards Authority and when reading some rulings, most of which happen months after the offending commercial has been aired, it’s too little too late.
We are sure that the National Lottery organisers certainly think so when it comes to a Health Lottery advert that was shown in May of this year.
The commercial featured a ‘previous winner’ of the Health Lottery saying ‘Lotto became too expensive with too many balls in the machine’ but it wasn’t this in itself that resulted in the one complaint.
A viewer actually challenged the wording ‘with over £100 million handed out in prize money, there are more winners too’ which featured in the advert too. The complainant believes this to be misleading and unsubstantiated.
In response to this, the Health Lottery organisers said the claim was not a comparison with the National Lottery Lotto game but referenced the increase in Health Lottery draws. More draws naturally resulted in more winners.
The ASA didn’t agree and said that that whilst there were featured testimonials from players and winners alongside the presenter talking about the benefits of playing the Health Lottery, there were no other references outside of that context to make it clear as to what exactly the presenter was referencing when it was claimed ‘there are more winners too’.
For this reason the advert was found to breach several BCAP codes:
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Advertisements that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, consumers about either the advertised product or service or the competing product or service.
Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.
The full adjudication can be read here.
You only have to search on the Rulings page on the Advertising Standards Authority website for the Health Lottery to find that there have been many complaints about their advertising.
Whilst some complaints have not been upheld in the past, most have. Is it enough then that their adverts are banned or should there be some further retribution for breaching BCAP or CAP Codes?
Is it fair that they can make unsubstantiated claims against a bigger lottery company as a way to attract customers?