An Ad All Can Be Proud Of From The National Lottery

The National Lottery



The latest National Lottery ad kicks off in 1994, on the night of the very first draw. “It Could Be You” – but it isn’t for our heroes Edward and Isaac, who meet up when one finds a ticket that’s slipped out of the other’s pocket. The two at least get a consolation prize: they fall in love, and the ad tracks their relationship across 30 years of ups, downs, and prize draws.

Is there a happy Lottery ending? Of course! Though only after another emotional moment, as Edward refuses to marry Isaac, because he’s scared his Dad won’t attend – then relents, and Dad shows up. A win for love, followed by a win on the Lotto.

It’s an ambitious ad from Adam&EveDDB, who reunited with director Tom Hopper, the man who helmed the Lottery’s terrific Christmas ad last year. That was another story of a meet-cute blossoming into a relationship, though without the historical sweep of “Pockets”. Both stories move away from the promise of life-changing fortunes, to find stories in lives which are happy and worthwhile even before the win. “Pockets” in particular looks to remind audiences of what a fixture of British life the Lottery has become.

Whilst not created as a pride-themed ad, as there are plans to run it all year, System1 tested it among a custom audience of LGBTQ+ people as well as our standard, nationally representative sample, as the heroes of the ad are a same-sex couple.

Among the general sample “Pockets” scored 3.9-Stars – a very good score for long-term brand building potential, with Exceptional brand fluency and short-term Spike ratings. With the LGBTQ+ sample we also saw exceptional Spike, and a big jump in Star Rating to a very strong 4.9-Stars.

It’s a classic example of what our Feeling Seen report on inclusion in advertising calls a “Diversity Dividend”. You make an ad celebrating a specific community or telling a story from a particular demographic, and make sure it’s strong enough creatively to get a good score among the population as a whole. But among members of that group it does even better, because of the pleasure of seeing lives like your own reflected on screen. As the Feeling Seen report concludes, diverse advertising unites us, and “Pockets” is a great example of this.

From an effectiveness perspective, what makes “Pockets” work so well is the same thing that made the Lottery’s Christmas ad such a success. It’s telling a very human story with loads of right-brained elements like knowing glances, strong characters in a clear narrative, and a definite historical sense (those mid-90s haircuts are, I regret to say, spot-on).

Camelot’s stewardship of the Lottery is coming to an end, with the company now owned by new operator Allwyn. There’s sure to be plenty of change, but we hope the Lottery continues in its tradition as a standard-bearer for memorable, emotional, populist advertising. For departing agency Adam&EveDDB, “Pockets” is an ad everyone can be proud of.

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