The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) took regulatory action after a complaint was filed against the Postcode Lottery. The complainant was questioning the content of an ad, which could be seen in the Daily Mail on July 1, 2023.
According to the complainant, there was an issue with the content of the ad as it was possibly suggesting that participation in the lottery could be the solution to people’s financial struggles. After the company reviewed the ad’s content, it decided to uphold the ad.
Questionable Ad Suggests Lottery Participation Could Be the Way Out of Financial Struggles
The Postcode Lottery ad in question had a red speech bubble at the top, saying “We had to postpone the wedding when Craig lost his job”. Underneath, the ad featured a message, which stated “Couple’s wedding is back on after they scooped £62,500 on People’s Postcode Lottery”. The second statement was accompanied by a photo of a happy couple, which was holding a cheque with the amount they had supposedly won from the lottery.
Another text featured in the ad gave a detailed description of the couple’s story, depicting them as an NHS nurse and her fiance, who had to postpone their wedding as the man lost his job. The couple was now seen celebrating their People’s Postcode Lottery’s Millionaire Street win.
The ad’s description further claimed, “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”. There was also additional text, which suggested that the recently won lottery prize could now solve the couple’s financial struggles.
The complainant’s main concern about the ad was that it suggested that participating in the lottery could help people solve their financial issues.
Postcode Lottery Ad Gets Removed After ASA Assesses Questionable Content of Ad
In response to the complaint, Postcode Lottery Ltd said they believed there was no violation of the Code with the ad that was published in the Daily Mail. According to the lottery operator, the ad did not suggest that the couple was struggling financially before the wedding and the interpretations of financial struggles could be subjective. Postcode Lottery also added that they did not intend for the couple’s story to be interpreted in a way that would suggest that participating in the lottery could be a solution to financial concerns.
The Daily Mail also commented on the issue by saying they were not aware of any complaints received about the ad. They also shared their opinion on the ad’s content, saying they did not consider that the Postcode Lottery ad was suggesting that participating in the lottery could solve financial concerns.
As for ASA’s decision, it was concluded that the CAP Code prohibits any marketing communication messages and content, which would suggest that buying a lottery ticket could solve any financial concerns. The regulatory body considered that the message “Couple’s wedding is back on after they scooped £62,500 on People’s Postcode Lottery” suggested that winning the People’s Postcode Lottery and resuming the wedding were two actions that were directly linked with each other.
Other parts of the ad’s message were interpreted in a way that suggested the couple was going through a stressful time due to financial struggles. According to ASA, the timing of the ad and text describing the man as someone who “just started a new job” would suggest that the couple participated in the People’s Postcode Lottery even when Craig was laid off from his previous job.
ASA’s final decision was that the ad did suggest that participating in the lottery is a way to solve one’s financial issues. That led to the decision that Postcode Lottery’s ad did breach CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 17.3 (Lotteries) and was never to be published in the same form again.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.