Vernons pulls plug on failed Easy Play game

Pools operator Vernons has pulled the plug on its National Lottery football game, Easy Play, due to poor sales.

Pools operator Vernons has pulled the plug on its National Lottery

football game, Easy Play, due to poor sales.



Weekly revenue has plummeted from pounds 1.5m shortly after the game’s

launch in August last year, to an all-time low of pounds 250,000 at the

beginning of April.



A spokeswoman for Vernons said the game failed for two main reasons.



It was too complicated and, despite being a joint venture with Camelot,

was effectively overshadowed by the National Lottery.



Phil Jarrold, managing director of Easy Play, resigned last week and

Vernons said there would be six redundancies, but declined to give

details.



It throws a cloud over the future role of Ian Lloyd Jones, Vernons

commercial director, who had marketing responsibility for Easy Play.



Vernons put pounds 12m into promoting the game with a TV, press and

radio ad campaign through BMP DDB and a door drop to more than ten

million homes through TSM.



Just two months after the first ad campaign went on air, the company

attempted to relaunch the game by featuring football’s bad boy Vinnie

Jones growling at the camera saying the game was not ’hard enough’.



The game was played on terminals that gave competitors a random

selection of 11 football matches from a fixture list of 49 for each

pounds 1 ticket. They won if five, six, seven or eight matches were

score draws, but the greater number of score draws the smaller the

prize.



The Vernons spokeswoman added that when the game launched, players found

it difficult to discover whether they held winning numbers because few

newspapers carried the results.



She said the game failed to appeal to its target audience for a number

of additional reasons. It was aimed at punters who played the pools, but

unlike the pools required little knowledge of team form, and therefore

failed to inspire. Vernons also aimed to attract women, which it failed

to do in significant numbers.



A spokesman for Camelot said the company shared Vernons’ disappointment

over the failure of the game, but pointed out that it illustrated the

difficulty in running a national lottery game. ’It is not as easy as

people think to get it right,’ he said.



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