It’s the magic ticket that can change everything: The Lottery. Everyone has imagined, at least once or twice, how their lives might change if they won the lottery. You would quit your job and buy a mansion with a garage large enough to house several expensive cars. You would have a butler whose only job was to hold a tray at the ready with a bell on it to summon your team of assistants at your whim. All of this, and your friends and family would whisper to one another, in awe of your generosity and your heart for the less fortunate, of course.
The strategists who plan the ads for the lottery know this is your dream. They know your dream, because it is the dream every person has had: a life of extravagant luxury, untouched by a temptation to squander riches or the disdain of family members disgusted by the waste of good money.
A recent study examined the trends among lottery ads to discover the strategies behind the marketing of lottery gambling. McMullen and Miller (2009) waned to examine a group of advertisements for the lottery to see whether certain techniques were consistent across marketing efforts.
The research team analyzed 920 radio, print, television and point-of-purchase lottery ads available in Atlantic Canada from January 2005 to January 2006. The researchers used content analysis and coded the ads according to intended audience, color scheme, and theme. When the authors did not agree on the coding, they discussed the ads multiple times until a unanimous consensus could be reached.
When the researchers analyzed intended audience of the ads, they found a specific target. All types of ads were overwhelmingly represented by Caucasian individuals. In television ads the actors were primarily men, while in print ads the marketing was centered on a female image. In addition, radio and television ads included language that is considered informal and conversational.
The color scheme in the ads also showed a very specific trend. The colors exhibited in the ads tended to be very vibrant shades of red, yellow, green and blue. The ads were generally never cast in dark or muted colors. The authors believe that the colors used were meant to evoke feelings of excitement, happiness and recreation.
The authors found that when examining themes, the most commonly used subject matter was the possibility of winning. The ads often involved entertaining the fantasy of winning, using slogans such as, “What if?” and “What would you do?” The ads often featured examples of lavish luxury life or familial acts of generosity.
In summary, the ads featured messages tailored for customers who fit the demographic profile for lottery players, and they were offered in colors chosen to make the lottery seem like exciting, fun entertainment. The theme was often centered on images of life changing dramatically in the event of purchasing the winning ticket.