A TV ad for Alzheimer’s Society Lottery, seen on 16 May 2018. The voice-over stated “Play the Big Win weekly lottery and soon you could wake up with more money in your life. £1,000 might just pop into your pocket. What a way to start the day or you could get the windfall that you’ve been waiting for. Cash-tastic. £8,000 may well land in your lap. Just wait ‘til you get your paws on it ... It’s so easy to play and every week there are over 200 big cash prize winners. There’s £2,500 worth of prizes to play for and there’s even a chance to win the sensational £8,000 super draw. You’ll feel marvellous with more money in your life so call now and play to win. Every time you play you’ll help Alzheimer’s Society provide care and support to people with dementia and help fund research into finding a cure. So come on, play now because you could be our next big cash winner. What will you do with your winnings ... Because next week could be wonderful with more money in your life”. The ad featured a man pulling a bundle of cash from his pockets, a woman pouring her cereal and money coming out of the box and a dog retrieving cash and passing it to its owner.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible because it suggested that gambling could improve somebody’s quality of life.
Alzheimer’s Society said that they believed the ad was socially responsible and did not target or appeal to children, young people, younger men (aged 18–34) or vulnerable people, including problem gamblers.
There were no scenes or implied reasons why participating in the Big Win lottery would be a rite of passage for any of those groups. There was no implication that the activity was without risk and it was clear throughout the ad that the participant “could” win. They said that there was no promise of a “cash-out” and no time limit on offers for entry and no short-term promotion or urgent call to action. They stated that the ad did not show encouragement for repetitive or frequent participation and it did not encourage people to spend more than they could afford.
They said that there was no suggestion in the ad that gambling could provide an escape from personal or professional problems including loneliness or depression. They said that the ad did not suggest that participation in the Big Win lottery was a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or way to achieve financial security. They said that any portrayal in the ad whether explicit or implied, was reasonable and indicative of the rewards that could have been obtained through responsible play.
They said that none of the characters in the ad were treated with admiration, glamour or popularity as a result of their participation in the Big Win Lottery. None of the characters had shown an improved self-image or self-esteem. They believed that showing simple daily moments of joy underplayed any emotional connection, for example jumping on a bed, swinging on a chair or hugging a large dog. They stated that they did not believe those moments glamourised or encouraged socially irresponsible gambling behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm. They said that the ad did not state or imply that gambling or winning would deliver an improvement in the quality of life of the player and they were careful to ensure that there was no hint of character transformation as a result of participating in, and winning the Big Win Lottery. They used verbs such as “could” or “may” to ensure that they did not express certainty or a promise in the outcome of participating in the Lottery.
Clearcast said that the Alzheimer’s Lottery invited people to participate in a weekly lottery for the chance to win money, while also helping a good cause. The incentive to donate to charity was as much of a draw as the chance to win money.
They did not believe the ad encouraged anything that could lead to harm, the amount to participate in the lottery was relatively low, and there was no encouragement to enter repeatedly in order to participate. They explained that the script used the incentive of prize amounts to demonstrate what could be won and it would be clear to viewers from the language used in the ad that this was a possibility rather than something that was guaranteed on entry.
They said that while the script did say “next week could be wonderful with more money in your life”, they felt that this implied that by playing there was the possibility of winning money and the participant would be pleased with the outcome. They did not feel that went any further than other lottery ads in suggesting that it could improve someone’s mood or quality of life and they did not feel that viewers would be encouraged to play because of this.
The ad illustrated a number of scenarios which showed various winners discovering their cash prize. The ASA considered the scenes to be fantastical in nature, featuring a bundle of cash falling out of a cereal box, being fetched by a dog or being pulled out of the winner’s pocket. Although we noted that the winners were depicted to be visibly overjoyed by their discoveries, we did not consider, however, that this portrayed or encouraged gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible.
We considered that the phrases “you could get the windfall that you’ve been waiting for” and “next week could be wonderful with more money in your life” suggested the possible outcome from winning a lottery draw and did not explicitly state that one’s quality of life would be improved. We therefore concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible and did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 18.2.1 and 18.2.6 (Gambling) but did not find the ad in breach.
No further action necessary.