EDITORIAL: Camelot finds its fortunes aren’t a gambling matter

Camelot is hoping its new advertising campaign, unveiled this week, will signal a change in its fortunes.

Camelot is hoping its new advertising campaign, unveiled this week,

will signal a change in its fortunes.



The campaign replaces Saatchi & Saatchi’s famous finger of fortune and

the ’It could be you’ strapline. The new work from WCRS takes a much

softer line, hedging its bets with ’Maybe, Just Maybe’ and features

images of communities and organisations that have benefited from the

lottery.



The message will be that even though you might not have won your fortune

with your ticket, we’re all winners because of the lottery (Story, page

7).



Camelot believes that a new, more benevolent, advertising message will

help revive its fortunes and boost sales in both its online and

scratchcard games.



But there are two distinct problems when it comes to marketing the

lottery, and advertising alone will not solve either of them. The first

is that the lottery’s launch gloss and promise has long since worn

off.



Regular players have pumped hundreds, if not thousands of pounds into

the draw with little or no success. The mega-payouts of its launch

captured the popular imagination and caused a feeding frenzy by the

tabloid press.



Many people now think that their odds of winning a major prize are so

small they might as well not bother.



Camelot has to change this way of thinking. One way would be to abandon

the jackpot in favour of more winners pocketing smaller amounts.



The second problem facing the lottery, but potentially just as damaging

to sales, is the poor standing of the Camelot brand. In the past couple

of years it has been involved in a fat-cat pay rise row and, indirectly,

a damaging legal action. One of its founding members, G-Tech, was forced

to quit Camelot after losing a libel action brought by Richard Branson,

in which a jury decided that G-Tech director Guy Snowden had tried to

bribe the Virgin chief to stay out of the race for the lottery

licence.



Aside from all this Camelot is widely seen as a company which could not

fail to make money when launching a government-backed lottery in a

monopoly market.



Camelot is addressing the problem. It has announced that a bigger share

of the profits from the lottery will now go to charities, which is a

step in the right direction. It also clearly wants to receive some

credit for running what is still the most successful lottery in the

world. But Camelot knows it has a job on its hands if it is to convince

the government to renew its licence in 2001.



Otherwise, like many of its customers, it will finally know how it feels

to be a loser.



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