Postcode Lottery

ASA criticises Postcode Lottery for Daily Mail adverts

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against the Postcode Lottery regarding two adverts published in the Daily Mail.

Published on 1 July 2023, the adverts in question depicted two sets of circumstances of people facing financial difficulties before winning large sums of money on the Postcode Lottery.

The first ad featured text that read “we had to postpone the wedding when Craig lost his job”. Underneath, further text stated that “couple’s wedding is back on after they scooped £62,500 on People’s Postcode Lottery”.

The second was with regards to an NHS nurse and her fiancé, which the ad suggested “had to put their plans to wed on hold when one of them was made redundant.”

It continued to state that the couple “had just paid the deposit for their big day when Craig heard that he was being made redundant. Now the pair are looking forward not only to their wedding next year but also to planning a honeymoon after winning £62,500 when their Nottinghamshire postcode was announced as the winner on Saturday.”

The ASA concluded that the ads had breached the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) Code and ruled that the ads cannot appear again in the current form, due to prompting Postcode Lottery services as a solution to financial concerns.

Due to the language contained within each tale, the ASA concluded that the ad suggested that participating in a lottery was a way to solve financial concerns.

“The ASA considered consumers would interpret the headline “couple’s wedding is back on after they scooped £62,500 on People’s Postcode Lottery” as making a direct connection between winning the People’s Postcode Lottery and the couple being able to resume their wedding plans,” it was concluded regarding one of the circumstances.

In response, the lottery stressed that the ad did not violate the code as “it did not suggest the winners had been struggling financially before winning the prize.”

It was added that there’s a degree of subjectivity as to how ‘financial concerns’ would be interpreted, with it believed that each concocted tale did not suggest that participating in a lottery could be a solution to financial concerns.

“People’s Postcode Lottery said that the ad did not unduly play on people’s fears of financial pressures nor referred to salary or debts,” an ASA breakdown noted.

Furthermore, the Postcode Lottery also implied that the winners had financial concerns which required a solution, with the ad considered to reflect situations where discretionary spend was facilitated by the win.

The Daily Mail, which was unaware of any complaints, said that they did not believe the ad implied that participation in the lottery was a way to achieve financial security.

It is a rare occurrence in the UK that a lottery finds itself on the receiving end of regulatory or watchdog action. The last time such an instance occurred was in March last year, when outgoing National Lottery operator Camelot was handed a £3.15m fine by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

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