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Five Complaints About Postcode Lottery Advert


21 Aug 2016

There have been many adjudications by the Advertising Standards Authority over advertising for gambling whether it’s a lottery, a bingo site or a casino.

Usually there will be just one complaint that triggers an investigation but a Postcode Lottery commercial shown in May 2016 resulted in five separate complaints!

The Offending Postcode Lottery Commercial

The advert in question showed a selection of previous lottery winners encouraging others to play. During the commercial one man, who appeared to be a member of the clergy, is seen saying ‘You do win, it’s fabulous. I keep telling people, play, because you never know who is going to win.’

It was the apparently the vocation of this man that incited the complaints with all five complainants challenging whether, by showing a man of the cloth urging others to take part, the advert was irresponsible.

The complaints were investigated under the BCAP Code 1.2 and 18.2.1

Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society.

Portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm

The Postcode Lottery Responds

When explaining the reason for the use of the gentlemen in the advert, the Postcode Lottery responded that they often made reference to winners using their names, occupations and amount that had been won.

One of their winners was a man who identified himself as a spiritualist minister. He was not asked to dress as he did for the commercial and the Postcode Lottery considered that asking him to change his clothing would be inappropriate.

His contribution to the advert was the same as other winners featured in their commercials and was a genuine testimonial from the winner.

The ASA Assessment

The ASA did not believe that his testimonial, which was clearly enthusiastic because of a recent win, was irresponsible and as such found the advert, did not breach the Code.

No further action was necessary, as the complaints were not upheld.

You can read the full adjudication here.