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ASA bans lottery ad which encouraged participation to clear mortgage

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a national press advert because it implied participating in a lottery was a solution to financial concerns, including paying off your mortgage.

A complaint was made by the Gambling Reform & Society Perception Group about the advert, which appeared in the Daily Express. The headline said: “Mortgage? What mortgage?”, with the text underneath reading: “Now two chances to win £100k*…”.

The advert quoted a top prize of £100,000 and The Health Lottery, which uses ticket sales to support health causes, understood this was around the average mortgage value in the UK based on Credit Action’s debt statistics dated August 2012.

THL argued that offering options on how a lottery winner could spend their winnings was a standard advertising technique and in no way depicted participation in a lottery as a solution to financial concerns or a way to achieve financial security. However, the ASA disagreed.

Publishing its decision today, the ASA says: “We understood The Health Lottery considered the ad did not depict participation in a lottery as a solution to financial concerns and that it simply described an example of what a winner could do with their winnings.

“However, we disagreed. We considered that because the ad suggested that someone who had won the lottery could pay off their debts, the implication was that participation in the lottery was a way of solving financial concerns or achieving financial security.”

The ASA ruled the advert must not appear again in its current form.


Jon Round MS blog

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  • phil 20th December 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Nothing wrong with the ad in my opinion, it’s where my winnings would go if i won that sort of money and it definitely doesnt make me more inclined to buy a ticket.

  • Daphnie Jenkins-Smyth 19th December 2012 at 1:18 pm

    in the past interst rates like that would have been called extortion, not sure why its not now?

  • Mary Lockyer 19th December 2012 at 1:04 pm

    So how come the ASA have not stopped Wonga’s advertising, and have not upheld the many complaints that their adverts are misleading, and targetted at a vulerable demographic population, you could hardly depict a less suitable target than those hard up on a pension with a loan charged at 4000% or more