A TV ad for the Health Lottery, seen in February 2017, featured various people who had won and featured a man who stated, “I would encourage anyone to go out and buy a Health Lottery ticket. You’ve a very good chance of winning …”.
Twelve complainants challenged whether the claim “You’ve a very good chance of winning” misleadingly exaggerated the chances of winning the Health Lottery.
Health Lottery ELM Ltd stated 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. The claim was a genuine word-of-mouth recommendation from an actual consumer.
Health Lottery believed that the comment “a very good chance” was a subjective claim and open to interpretation. They stated that with approximately 300,000 players taking part in each draw and 1 in 108 players winning a prize in any one of their five weekly lottery draws, indicated that there was a “very good chance” of winning. Furthermore, they had contacted their large prize winners to seek consent for a telephone interview or agreement to be filmed for their television ads in order to promote the Health Lottery. They had many recorded instances where a player (unprompted – as all their interviews were) stating that they had participated in another lottery without wining anything, but did so with the Health Lottery.
Health Lottery stated that as with all games of chance, a win was just the luck of the draw. However, they believed that their prize structure meant that consumers had a good chance of winning a prize.
Clearcast stated that they 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. They believed that the line was a subjective (personal) 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. Clearcast believed that the words “good chance” made this clear and that nowhere in the ad was there a claim or implication that people who played the Health Lottery would definitely win a prize.
The ASA understood that the man in the ad who had stated, “You’ve a very good chance of winning [the Health Lottery]” was a testimonial based on his own experience of having won a prize. 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 ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation), 3.12 3.12 Advertisements must not mislead by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product or service. (Exaggeration) and 3.45 3.45 Testimonials or endorsements used in advertising must be genuine, unless they are obviously fictitious, and be supported by documentary evidence. Testimonials and endorsements must relate to the advertised product or service. Claims that are likely to be interpreted as factual and appear in advertisements must not mislead or be likely to mislead. (Endorsements and testimonials).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told the Health Lottery ELM Ltd that their advertising must not exaggerate the chances of winning a prize.