Adwatch: National Lottery 'Migrate'

The National Lottery should be a dream advertising brief. It's offering the chance for people to become millionaires. Just imagine what you'd do if you won. It should be the root for some compelling campaigns. So why doesn't this killer idea make it onto our screens?

It's remarkable how rarely the Lottery's advertising has tapped into our hopes and dreams. I'm writing as a player myself. Elitists call it a tax on stupidity; I say 'Duh', and hand over my quid.

Once people cottoned on to the low odds of winning, the original 'It could be you' campaign was diluted to 'Maybe, just maybe'. At one low point, the National Lottery portrayed itself as a happy version of income tax. 'You played, the nation won' was fine for appeasing critics, but spectacularly unmotivating for potential players. The recent 'Think lucky' campaign simply gave up on engaging the public by employing Fay Ripley and a gay unicorn to bully people into buying a ticket.

So it's a welcome return for the 'Imagine what you'd do' idea in this latest campaign. And I say 'idea' because the action on screen is far removed from the motivation to play. We see a flock of bricks gracefully migrating through the sky. They leave Britain, cross the ocean and the mountains, then descend on an empty plot in a seafront paradise.

We end on a space in a terrace from where a house has disappeared and the strapline 'Where would you go?'

The intended message is that you could move somewhere amazing if you play the lottery. But the visual metaphor is your house moving, not you.

This is a case of the technique leading the story. The dramatic visuals - Sony 'Balls' meets Planet Earth - take viewers somewhere different from where the campaign needs to go. Even the tone feels strangely impersonal for what should be an evocative message. There's none of the joy of the other ad in the campaign, in which a winner hands out smiles to people.

It's an extravagant telling of the wrong story.

National Lottery campaigns should move people's hearts. All that moves in this campaign are the bricks.

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