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Monday, November 9, 1998 Published at 20:01 GMT


Lottery rethinks ad campaign

The ads feature a grant-winning brass band

The National Lottery operator, Camelot, has unveiled a £12m advertising campaign promoting the good causes it benefits - and playing down the idea that anyone can scoop the jackpot.

Dianne Thompson describes one of the new adverts on Radio 4's PM programme
TV commercials with the slogan "Maybe, just maybe", are being screened from Thursday. They feature recipients of some of the 31,686 lottery grants handed out to date.

The campaign marks a shift from the lottery's "It could be you" slogan with a big blue finger pointing out of the sky.

[ image: Hundreds of arts projects have received money]
Hundreds of arts projects have received money
Dianne Thompson, Camelot's commercial operations director, said the change of emphasis followed research which showed players did not know enough about where the money was going.

She said punters had also wised up to the odds against winning the jackpot - about 14 million to one.

'Nation winning'

"We need people to feel very positive about the National Lottery," she said.

"Winning on a personal level is very important but it is no longer the core - it is about winning as a nation.

[ image: Royal Opera House: Controversial choice for lottery cash]
Royal Opera House: Controversial choice for lottery cash
"These are Millennium values. People want a better future for ourselves and for our children.

"We are not expecting this campaign to increase sales, that's not what it's about.

"Players want to know where their money is going. They want to know it's not just going to the Opera House or other large or controversial awards."

Charities, sport, arts, heritage bodies and projects to mark the Millennium receive 28 pence from every pound taken in ticket sales.

Almost £6bn has been given to good causes since the lottery started in November 1994.

[ image: Guy Snowden: Libel loser]
Guy Snowden: Libel loser
However, Camelot's public image has been severely tarnished this year. It suffered intense media criticism after it announced record profits of £80m.

It also took a knock when Virgin boss Richard Branson won a libel victory against Guy Snowden, the former Chairman of Gtech, Camelot's parent company.

Mr Branson was awarded £100,000 after the High Court heard that Mr Snowden tried to bribe him into pulling out of the race to run the lottery. Mr Snowden resigned from GTech after losing the case.

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