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ASA clears Health Lottery advert of social irresponsibility

The Advertising Standards Authority has cleared a Health Lottery ad, featuring a man finding a £1 coin down the back of his armchair, of any wrongdoing.

Proceeding to enter a grocery store, the voice over goes on to state “Its George’s lucky day. Now you might think £1 won’t buy you much these days, a loaf of bread, a pint of milk, but George knows £1 buys you a chance to play the Health Lottery which now has more chances to win”.

Seeing the coin turn into the aforementioned items, George goes on to continue with his original plan, before daydreaming of what he could buy with a potentially huge windfall.

Seeing an issue with its content, one complainant challenged the social irresponsibility of the advert, believing an implication was contained that hinted it would be better to gamble £1 on a lottery, as opposed to on essential food items.

In its response, The Health Lottery stated that the concept is to show the spending of an “unexpected luck windfall,” rather than implying expenditure outside of budgeted everyday items.

Emphasising that references to items such as a loaf of bread or milk were made to indicate “that the cost of a Health Lottery ticket was inexpensive compared to the potential reward that players could receive,” it was also stated that there was no suggestion that someone should spend money on a ticket instead of eating and drinking.

Also stressing that the £1 coin had not been taken from his wallet, the ASA backed The Health Lottery’s stance, stating: “The ad played on the common joke that money could be found down the back of a sofa, and that money found unexpectedly in such places, was a bonus”.

Before adding: “We noted that when the man entered the shop, he was not shown pondering whether to buy food or a lottery ticket, but had entered the shop for the specific purpose of buying a lottery ticket with the £1 he had found.

“The ad did not suggest that the man chose to buy a lottery ticket instead of bread and milk that he needed, but rather those items were included merely by way of comparison to show that everyday food items could be bought for the same price as a £1 lottery ticket, and that if spare money was found, it could be spent on a lottery ticket.”

Not upholding the complaint, the ASA concluded that the ad was not irresponsible and did not break the code.

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