Health Lottery advert censured for ‘exaggerating the chances of winning a prize’

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has censured a TV advert by the Health Lottery for  ‘exaggerating the chances of winning a prize’.

Twelve complainants had challenged whether the claim “You’ve a very good chance of winning” used in the TV advert misleadingly exaggerated the chances of winning the Health Lottery.  The ASA decided that this was the case.

It said: “We considered that such a claim was likely to be interpreted as factual and to mean that consumers were more likely to win a prize from the Health Lottery than not winning anything. However, because the claim was not supported with documentary evidence we considered that it exaggerated the chances of winning the Health Lottery and concluded it was likely to mislead viewers.”

The Health Lottery argued that the ad featured a number of genuine, unprompted testimonials from Health Lottery winners including a man who had won a prize (but not the jackpot), and expressed his view that consumers had “a very good chance of winning”.

Health Lottery believed that it was reasonable to expect that viewers would not perceive the man to be an expert adviser, but a player sharing his experience of The Health Lottery, especially as it was a genuine word-of-mouth recommendation from an actual consumer.

Health Lottery also argued that the comment “a very good chance” was a subjective claim and open to interpretation. With approximately 300,000 players taking part in each draw and 1 in 108 players winning a prize in any one of its five weekly lottery draws, the operator said that this indicated that there was a “very good chance” of winning.

This advert is yet another one that had be previously approved by Clearcast, the independent advertising consultants. Clearcast stated that it approved the line “You’ve a very good chance of winning” on the basis that it was part of a testimonial given by a previous winner of the Health Lottery, believing that the line was a subjective claim about the winner’s own experience of playing the Health Lottery and that viewers might also have a chance of winning if they participated.