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
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
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