NEWS: Vernons set to try direct response TV

Vernons, Britain’s second-largest pools company, is turning to direct response TV advertising to counter-attack the National Lottery in an effort to lure younger and more upmarket credit card-carrying punters.

Vernons, Britain’s second-largest pools company, is turning to direct

response TV advertising to counter-attack the National Lottery in an

effort to lure younger and more upmarket credit card-carrying punters.



McCann-Erickson Manchester has produced the campaign - the first of its

kind by a pools promoter - for a new scheme that allows people to play

simply by picking up the telephone rather than having to make crosses on

a coupon.



The commercial will begin a test in the Midlands - a strong pools-

playing region - on Saturday, and will be backed by local radio

advertising, before a probable national roll-out.



The 60-second film features a scarlet-clad figure, symbolising the ‘X’

figure in the Vernons logo, to emphasise how easy it is to do the pools

by phone.



It was written by Bryce Main, art directed by Glyn Wakefield and

directed by Julian Kronfli of Kronfli Duliba Productions.



Sue Norgrove-Moore, the McCanns account director on the business, said:

‘This is direct response advertising in its purest sense. We’re very

bullish about it and it’s certainly not a gimmick.’



Vernons, which is owned by the Ladbroke group, has been developing its

‘play by phone’ scheme for some time. It allows people to call in with

their credit card number and to make their selections for the following

six months or a year.



The aim is to make Vernons a more potent rival to Littlewoods, the

market leader, which relies more heavily on collectors, and to the

National Lottery, which caused its turnover to plunge by almost a

quarter last year and forced it to shed 150 jobs.



The initiative is Vernons’ first venture into TV since the Independent

Television Commission lifted the ban on pools companies last April. The

relaxation followed sustained lobbying of the Government by pools

promoters demanding to be allowed to compete on equal terms with the

National Lottery.



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