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EDITIONS
 Friday, 3 January, 2003, 10:55 GMT
Connolly's Lotto 'most irritating ad'
Billy Connolly
Connolly's purple beard "annoyed people"
Comic Billy Connolly's television adverts for the revamped Lotto have been voted the most irritating commercial of 2002.

The adverts, in which Connolly sports a purple beard and uses the catchphrase "Don't live a little, live a Lotto", was intended to stir up enthusiasm for the game when its name was changed from the National Lottery.

TEN MOST IRRITATING ADS
1. Lotto - Billy Connolly
2. Tampax - Mistakes it for a sweet
3. Ikea - "Live life unlimited"
4= Orange - "Your plan"
4= Sainsbury's - Jamie Oliver skateboarding
6. T-Mobile - Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf
7. Barclaycard - Human hummingbirds
8. BT Together - Computer game
9. Barclays - Samuel L Jackson
10. Fairy Liquid - Ainsley Harriot
Camelot, which runs the draw, says the ads were "very successful" in making the public aware of the name-change - although sales have continued to slide.

Ads for Tampax, where a hapless man mistook one for a sweet, and Ikea, which showed a couple "schlomping", were next on the list, compiled by trade journal Marketing.

The magazine said: "What was it about Billy Connolly that annoyed people? The silly walks? The manic facial expressions?

"Our money's on the purple beard."

The ads have been criticised for bad acting, poor scripts and a "preposterous" concept.

Skateboarding chef Jamie Oliver's commercial for Sainsbury's was joint fourth in the poll, alongside the "Your Plan" ads for mobile phone company Orange.

The magazine also criticised Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf's appearances for T-Mobile, which were at number six on the list.

Ainsley Harriot
Ainsley Harriot: Fairy Liquid film set
Graf's performance was "more painful to watch than a Henman-Hewitt semi-final", Marketing said.

Barclaycard's "human hummingbirds" were seventh in the poll, followed by BT Together's ad showing two men playing a computer game over a phone line.

Other stars to feature in the top 10 were Samuel L Jackson, whose Barclays ads were rated ninth most irritating, and Ainsley Harriot, who cleaned up for Fairy Liquid on the set of a western film shoot, at number 10.

Viewers will not see Connolly's Lotto ads on screen for much longer as all 10 ads that he originally signed up for have been filmed and aired.

The campaign was successful in making 92% of the UK population aware of the name change within six weeks of May's revamp, Camelot said.

The next Lotto advertising drive will use examples of "good causes" rather than celebrities.

See also:

26 Nov 02 | England
20 Dec 02 | Entertainment
05 Jan 00 | Entertainment
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