The People’s Postcode Lottery was the subject of a complaint over an ad in the Daily Mail newspaper which reported that a couple had been able to overcome redundancy and pay for their wedding thanks to a £62,500 lottery win.
The ad, published in July, explained that Nottinghamshire couple Angie and Craig had initially postponed their nuptials until their numbers came up. After being part of their neighbourhood’s £1m win, they would now also be able to afford a honeymoon.
Following the complaint via the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), both People’s Postcode Lottery and the Daily Mail had argued that the ad did not imply that participation in the lottery was a way to achieve financial security.
However, the ASA ruled that the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 17.3 (Lotteries) and must not appear again in the form complained of. This rule states that marketing communications must not suggest that participating in a lottery can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security.
ASA furthermore warned People’s Postcode Lottery not to imply that participating in a lottery was a solution to financial concerns.
Postcode Lottery defends ad
In its response following the complaint, People’s Postcode Lottery had said it did not believe the ad breached the UK’s advertising code because it did not suggest the winners had been struggling financially before winning the prize.
The group said there was a degree of subjectivity as to how “financial concerns” would be interpreted and that, on balance, they did not consider the fact that the couple had been able to resume their wedding plans would be interpreted as suggesting that participating in a lottery could be a solution to financial concerns.
Referencing CAP Guidance, the group further explained that the ad did not unduly play on people’s fears of financial pressures nor refer to salary or debts.
The Daily Mail said it did not believe the ad implied that participation in the lottery was a way to achieve financial security. They believed the ad did not suggest the couple had changed their lifestyle as a result of winning, other than being able to resume their wedding plans.
In issuing its ruling, ASA said: “We considered that, along with the presentation of the couple as being stressed because they could no longer afford their wedding, the ad had the effect of suggesting that winning the People’s Postcode Lottery was able to provide a solution to their financial concerns regarding the payment of their wedding.
“That was further emphasised because the couple continued to play the People’s Postcode Lottery after Craig had been made redundant.
“Because the ad suggested that participating in a lottery was a way to solve financial concerns, we concluded that the ad breached the code.”