A National Lottery television advertisement for scratch cards for Father’s Day featured a sports car made out of sand together with two buckets and a spade. The scene then changed to a sand design holding various National Lottery scratch cards with a sand ribbon on the front with the text “Father’s Day 21st June”.
The voiceover stated:
“Don’t forget Dads still dream too. So surprise yours this Father’s Day with one of the range of All Cash scratch cards and help bring his dreams to life. With prizes up to €500,000 he can keep thinking big.”
A radio advertisement for scratch cards for Father’s Day stated:
“This is a Father’s Day announcement from the National Lottery. Do not get him socks for Father’s Day unless;
1. He’s an arctic explorer; or
2. He likes to do sock puppets.
Otherwise remember Dads still have dreams too. So surprise him with one of the big range of National Lottery scratch cards for this Father’s Day, June 21st. With prizes up to half a million euro he’ll just want to take off his socks on the beach so don’t buy him any. Socks – bad. National Lottery scratch cards – good.”
Two complaints were received regarding the advertising, one complainant objected to the television advertisement while the second complainant objected to the radio advertisement. Both complainants considered that the advertising encouraged children to purchase a gambling product.
The advertisers stated that the advertisements were never developed to appeal to children as the Scratch Card product cannot be purchased by those under 18 years of age. They said that this was strictly enforced in the retail environment and no prize can be claimed by those under 18.
They said that their advertising is targeted at an adult market and the audiences that they buy media for are 18+, adults aged 18 – 34, adults aged 25 – 44 and adults 55+. They said that they do not place advertisements in any programmes that are predominantly aimed at children under the age of 18 nor do they advertise on stations which are aimed at children, e.g. RTE Junior Radio.
They said that the idea for the advertising was that “Dads still dream too” and this was communicated by showing a car sand sculpture which was meant to have been built by the Dad as he dreams of owning a new flashy car after winning on a National Lottery scratch card.
In regards to the radio advertisement, they stated that the idea they were trying to communicate was that a National Lottery scratch car was a lot better than your typical Father’s Day gift such as socks, and they communicated this in a humorous, over the top way. They said that a pair of socks was a gift that would be bought by people of any age for their Fathers and did not have specific appeal to children.
They stated that they regretted that the complainants found the content of their advertisements inappropriate. They said that the advertisements were no longer running and they had no current plans to air them again in the future. In relation to future campaigns, they said that they have taken the complaints very seriously and would note them when developing new campaigns.
Complaints not upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response. While the Committee noted the concerns of the complainants, the fact that the product could not be purchased by those under 18 together with the fact that the target audience of the advertiser was against over 18’s only, they did not consider that the advertising has been targeted at children and therefore did not consider that it was in breach of the Code.
Action Required No further action required.