Adwatch (Nov 2) - Top 20 recall: The Health Watch

Health Lottery ad tries to be quirky and fresh as it challenges the mighty Camelot
Health Lottery ad tries to be quirky and fresh as it challenges the mighty Camelot

Afro hair and loud acting make for good recall but leave room for doubt about the product.

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At this week's number one it's The Health Lottery with its lively new TV commercial.

It uses bright colours and has people with big multi-coloured afros. Plus it features Brian Blessed shouting (or acting, or whatever). It's like pre-school kids' TV yet less intellectually challenging, so it's bound to succeed. Or is it? Surely it can't be that simple to launch a lottery?

Once, long ago, someone else tried to launch an alternative to the National Lottery, called 'Monday'.

The idea was that it was played on a Monday - one of the few days not occupied by a Camelot product. They worked tirelessly to get it off the ground, employing lots of consultants (including our agency). Someone else came up with a bizarre, eye-catching 'thing' to use in the ads - as I recall, a weird man dressed in white who shouted at people to get them to play.

They devised games that benefited individual charities, so players could choose which game (and hence which charity) to support. They built a website and tested it for months. They insured themselves against anyone actually winning the jackpot (apparently, this is what small lotteries do - not surprisingly the premiums are pretty cheap). It was all so simple.

On launch day, of course, the website turned out to be crap and fell over. And with it went the hopes of a nation that someone might, finally, offer an alternative to the profitable-yet-cuddly behemoth that is Camelot. Cynical people even speculated that Camelot was glad to be rid of a small lottery that offered better odds but smaller prizes.

So we return to the present day, and here is another David, trying to fight gambling Goliath. I hope it succeeds, but I have a few lingering doubts about its approach.

The advertising is infantile (but then it's bankrolled by Richard Desmond). It's trying to be quirky and fresh, but is actually just stupid.

More importantly, I'm left with massive, unanswered questions: what do I do next? How and where do I play? The jackpots are small, which worries me. Don't people play lotteries to win shedloads of cash and move to Malaga? In addition, it's all very obscure as to why this is a 'Health' lottery. In the fly-type it explains that 20p in every £1 goes to 'local health causes'. Which are what exactly?

Altogether it feels like a cheaper, shitter version of the National Lottery, right down to the ads. If I were a gambling man, I'd bet it'll fail. This makes me sad, as I've no doubt my 'local health cause' needs the money.

League Tables
Adwatch (November 2): Top 20 recall
Latest Oct-26 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
1 (–) The Health Lottery  DLKW Lowe/Walker Media 54
2= (–) Virgin Media  DDB UK/Fifty6 48
2= (–) Asda  Saatchi & Saatchi/Carat 48
4 (–) Halifax  Adam & Eve/MEC 46
5 (–) DFS  Uber/MediaCom 39
6= (1=) Tesco  The Red Brick Road/Initiative 35
6= (–) Tetley Tea  Dare/MediaVest 35
8 (–)  (Beta)/Maxus 31
9= (–) Heinz Beanz  Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/Vizeum 30
9= (4=) Argos  CHI & Partners/Mindshare 30
11 -16 Currys/PC World  M&C Saatchi/Walker Media 29
12= (–) Birds Eye  Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/Carat 28
12= (–) Velvet  Fallon London/Carat 28
12= (–) Rimmel  JWT London/OMD UK 28
15 (–) Twinings  Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/ZenithOptimedia 27
16= (1=) Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 26
16= (–)  VCCP/Carat 26
18 (–) Cravendale  Wieden & Kennedy London/Carat 25
19= (–)  Mustard, Cherry Tiger/All Response Media 24
19= (–) Harveys  Velvet TV/MediaVest 24


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