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
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.