ASA Adjudication on The Health Lottery Ltd
The Health Lottery Ltd
The Northern and Shell Building
Number 10 Lower Thames Street
22 August 2012
Number of complaints:
A TV ad, for The Health Lottery, included a voice-over that stated, "… already three hundred and seventy five thousand people have won, with jackpot winners scooping up to a quarter of a million pounds each. And you could be next." Text on screen stated "UP TO £1/4 MILLION". Images of four couples were shown; one was labelled "£200K WINNER!" and the other three were labelled "£100K WINNER!".
The complainants challenged whether the ads misleadingly implied there was regularly a jackpot of £250,000, which they understood was not the case.
The Health Lottery said the ad was broadcast for five days in the run up to a particular weekly draw; however, it was for The Health Lottery generally, rather than being specifically linked to that particular draw. They said the draw featured a regular weekly top prize of £100,000 but on some weeks there had been special promotions with larger top prizes. Since the launch of The Health Lottery in October 2011 there had been, at the time of responding to the ASA, top prizes of £200,000 on three occasions and of £250,000 on one occasion. They said they had been advised by Clearcast that it was acceptable to advertise a lottery in which the top prize could be won on at least one out of ten occasions even if it was not available in the next draw. The Health Lottery said that because there had been a £250,000 prize, and a £200,000 prize, available in the previous ten draws they believed it was acceptable to refer to "winners scooping up to a quarter of a million".
They pointed out that the ad referred to jackpot winners "scooping up to a quarter of a million pounds each" and that the on-screen text stated "UP TO £1/4 MILLION" as well as three of the four images being labelled "£100K WINNER!", and the other "£200K WINNER!", which they believed would clearly indicate to viewers that prizes above £100,000 would not be available every week. They said the ad did not state or imply that a sum of £250,000 was available on a regular basis and they believed it was not misleading.
Clearcast said the claim "… already three hundred and seventy five thousand people have won, with jackpot winners scooping up to a quarter of a million pounds each" was factual and The Health Lottery had up to that point begun to regularly offer a much larger jackpot prize than the standard £100,000. They said they considered the ad to be acceptable as a suggestion that bigger jackpots could be won by viewers, because they had been assured that the larger jackpots constituted around ten per cent of the prizes awarded to date. They said they had understood that the larger jackpots would continue to be awarded and that there would be more £250,000 winners in the future.
The ASA noted The Health Lottery had offered a jackpot of £250,000 on one occasion around two months before the ad appeared. We acknowledged that the references in the ad to that top prize were preceded with "up to", which we considered made clear a prize of £250,000 was not always available. We also noted three of the images were labelled "£100K WINNER!" and one was labelled "£200K WINNER!", which we considered also contributed to that impression. However, we also considered the claim "… already three hundred and seventy five thousand people have won, with jackpot winners scooping up to a quarter of a million pounds each. And you could be next" was likely to be interpreted as suggesting that multiple winners had claimed the top prize of £250,000 and that the same amount would be available again on a regular basis. We therefore considered, on balance, that the ad misleadingly implied there was a jackpot of £250,000 more regularly than was the case. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told The Health Lottery to ensure future ads did not misleadingly imply there were regularly larger jackpots than was the case.