ASA penalises Postcode Lottery over national newspaper advertisement

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld one complaint that was filed against the Postcode Lottery regarding a UK national newspaper advertisement that appeared in the Daily Mail on July 1, 2023.

This comprised a pair of fictitious circumstances, the first of which featured text that read “we had to postpone the wedding when Craig lost his job”. Underneath, further text stated that “couple’s wedding is back on after they scooped £62,500 on People’s Postcode Lottery”.

The second was with regards to an NHS nurse and her fiancé, which the ad suggested “had to put their plans to wed on hold when one of them was made redundant”.

It continued to state that the couple “had just paid the deposit for their big day when Craig heard that he was being made redundant. Now the pair are looking forward not only to their wedding next year but also to planning a honeymoon after winning £62,500 when their Nottinghamshire postcode was announced as the winner on Saturday”.

In response, the lottery stressed a belief that the ad did not violate the code as “it did not suggest the winners had been struggling financially before winning the prize”.

In was added that there’s a degree of subjectivity as to how ‘financial concerns’ would be interpreted, with it believed that each concocted tale did not suggest that participating in a lottery could be a solution to financial concerns.

“People’s Postcode Lottery said that the ad did not unduly play on people’s fears of financial pressures nor referred to salary or debts,” an ASA breakdown noted.

Furthermore, the Postcode Lottery also implied that the winners had financial concerns which required a solution, with the ad considered to reflect situations where discretionary spend was facilitated by the win.

The Daily Mail, which was unaware of any complaints, said that they did not believe the ad implied that participation in the lottery was a way to achieve financial security. 

However, due to the language contained within each tale, the ASA concluded that the ad suggested that participating in a lottery was a way to solve financial concerns.

“The ASA considered consumers would interpret the headline “couple’s wedding is back on after they scooped £62,500 on People’s Postcode Lottery” as making a direct connection between winning the People’s Postcode Lottery and the couple being able to resume their wedding plans,” it was concluded regarding one of the circumstances.

The ad must not appear again in the form complained of, with the Postcode Lottery reminded not to imply that participating in a lottery was a solution to financial concerns.