While some believe giving gambling money to worthy causes is a prime example of robbing Peter to pay Paul, Lotto NZ is trumpeting the positive aspects of that arrangement in a new campaign fronted by comedian and RNZ afternoon host Jesse Mulligan.
Lottery advertising campaigns have typically highlighted the life-changing possibilities of winning the “big one” by selling the dream, but Lotto NZ's new campaign, 'Good on you', reminds viewers of the charitable purposes supported by New Zealand’s Lotteries Commission.
In a foundation piece entitled “good on you – where the money goes”, which is currently airing on TV and was created by TVNZ/Blacksand, Mulligan chats with organisations such as the Garden to Table Trust, which shows kids how to prepare and grow their own food, about how they are putting the money to use.
In another spot released on YouTube, Mulligan chats with Masterton locals (including legendary All Blacks captain and coach, Sir Brian Lochore) about the introduction of a new astroturf surface at Wairarapa stadium, which the Lottery Grants Board supported as a principal sponsor.
According to official figures for the year ended 30 June 2015, around 22 cents in every dollar of combined sales from Lotto NZ games is returned to the community, while $198.6 million in total was returned to the New Zealand Lottery grants board for community purposes in the 2015 year.
Since 1987, when Lotto was first introduced, over $3.6 billion has been returned.
Chief marketing officer Guy Cousins says Lotto NZ has been creating content for a number of years as part of the TV draw, but working with Mulligan presented an opportunity to increase exposure in the public domain.
“When we talk to our players, they really want to know about this stuff," he says.
Cousins says the stories highlighted in the campaign were chosen because they were representative of where lottery donation funds actually go.
“What we tried to unearth here are stories that we think will have public resonance but [also] do reflect [what] the money goes to. This is really allowing players to feel good about playing Lotto.”
Cousins says Mulligan was perfect for the TV spots because he has mana and credibility about him.
Using 'influencers' in ads is not new, of course. Skycity did it recently with a series of print ads featuring the words of Paul Henry, Peter Gordon and Valerie Adams. And RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson said he was more relaxed about staff talking with the community and raising public radio's profile when asked by the Herald whether having John Campbell and Carol Hirschfeld MCing an event for Air New Zealand called into question its editorial integrity and independence (TVNZ and BrandWorld's The Extra Mile masthead from a few years back had Wallace Chapman talking up Cadbury's positives for its first instalment, but it met a frosty reception and didn't last too long).
There is also more to come from the campaign, Cousins says.
“We’ve got a number of stories in the pipeline so we’ll be leaking them out over the next 12 months.”