Campaigns: Drawing in the Lottery hoards - Product Launch

Client: Camelot

Client: Camelot

PR team: In-house

Campaign: Launch of the midweek Lottery Draw

Timescale: mid-January to 5 February 1997

Budget: pounds 70,000

Camelot announced it was to proceed with a midweek Lottery Draw in

October 1996 after obtaining permission from Oflot. To coincide with the

announcement, Camelot issued background material on the reasons for the

second draw and how it would work. The main substance of the PR campaign

was condensed into the three-week period prior to the first ’Winsday’ on

5 February.


The campaign’s broad aims were to recreate the ’Lottery fever’ that

gripped the nation when the weekend draw was launched. And to forestall

and counter the criticism that this extension of gambling would in all

likelihood attract by positioning the midweek draw as a ’natural

progression’ in line with the evolution of other Lotteries around the


More specifically, Camelot wanted to achieve widespread media coverage

and to encourage players to buy tickets at the start of the week.


Camelot used a mix of techniques to generate consumer press coverage

including photocalls with past winners, press releases on the new

payslip design, and the unveiling of the ’Winsday’ advertising campaign.

Nine journalists were taken on a press trip to Dublin to see the

existing Irish midweek draw in action.

The PR team made much of the fact that the first midweek Lottery would

be a ’superdraw’ with a guaranteed pounds 10 million jackpot and made

sure the media were given sales updates as the day approached. Airships

and aircraft bearing the slogan ’It’s Winsday’ flew over various parts

of the country and a launch party was held in Belfast at the Ruby

Tuesday venue, which changed its name to Ruby Winsday for the day.

There were parties held for ticket retailers around the country and, at

a local level, Camelot staged promotions at 25 kiosks where winners and

celebrities were invited to ’Grab a Grand’ (donated by Camelot) for


A corporate communications programme ran alongside the consumer PR,

focusing on issues such as the economic advantages to the retail sector

and the benefits of the midweek draw for ’good causes’. The first

Winsday began with a huge fireworks display and saw Camelot paying (an

estimated pounds 1 million) for the Sun newspaper to be given away free

for the first time.

This promotion included an eight-page Lottery pullout with Camelot’s PR

team working closely with the Sun’s editorial staff.


Footage of the fireworks alone was shown on ITN, Channel 4, Sky, BBC

Nine O’Clock News and GMTV and there was extensive press coverage. In

the first midweek draw, a quarter of ticket sales were on Monday and

Tuesday with 60 per cent sold on the Wednesday - initially indicating

success in encouraging customers to buy tickets on days other than

Fridays or Saturdays.

Ticket sales for the first Winsday totalled pounds 32.9 million - not a

patch on the pounds 67 to pounds 68 million usually achieved on the

Saturday draw. However, sales for the following Saturday’s draw were, at

pounds 63 million, only a little down on the average.


’The PR team was successful in ensuring our key messages were heard loud

and clear and arranged to deflect much of the criticism surrounding the

launch of the midweek draw,’ says Camelot marketing director Jon


Nevertheless, negative articles did appear and some of the gloss was

stripped from the launch when technical problems hit the following

Saturday’s draw and pay-outs had to be frozen for 24 hours.

Yet these setbacks seem small against the welter of coverage for the

first Winsday. The tabloids were more interested in covering the

build-up to the draw and reporting on the first winners than dwelling on

any problems. There may not have been a repeat of Lottery fever but

there was an epidemic of awareness.

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