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
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.