THIS WEEK: Vernons fights back with DRTV

Vernons Pools is hitting back at the National Lottery by becoming the first pools company to launch direct-response TV ads, encouraging viewers to gamble by phone.

Vernons Pools is hitting back at the National Lottery by becoming the

first pools company to launch direct-response TV ads, encouraging

viewers to gamble by phone.



In a sideswipe at the game which has stripped the pools industry of 30%

of its sales, Vernons will aggressively promote its own ease of play.

Consumers will be told that there is no need to go to the shop and that

winners are notified - unlike in the lottery.



The move is an attempt to ride on the back of the surge of ‘soft

gambling’ prompted by the lottery. The market has grown from pounds 1bn

to pounds 5bn since the lottery was launched. However, nine out of ten

adults play the lottery while only three out of ten do the pools.



This is Vernons’ first use of TV and radio since the deregulation of the

sector last April. ‘Two thirds of people who play the pools don’t know

that you can play it by phone using a credit card,’ says marketing

director Peter Ammundsen.



‘It’s taken a while to review the damage done by the lottery and this is

a traditional business. But we’ve got to shake it up and it has to be

changed.’



Ammundsen claims Vernons is in prime position to win market share, as a

high proportion of its sales are already made on the phone.



If the two-week ad trial, devised by McCann-Erickson Manchester, is

successful Vernons will pump more cash into broadcast media. ‘In this

tough, competitive environment we need a measurable return on our

investment, so direct response is important,’ says Ammundsen.



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