The Health Lottery has seen one of its advertisements cleared of social irresponsibility, after one complainant lodged an issue, believing the TV offering implied that it was better for someone to gamble £1 in a lottery than spend it on essential items such as food.

Looked over by the Advertising Standards Authority, the clip features George, who finds a £1 coin down the back of his armchair, which he subsequently uses to purchase a ticket.

Upon making the discovery, the voice-over states “Its George’s lucky day. Now you might think £1 won’t buy you much these days, a loaf of bread, a pint of milk, but George knows £1 buys you a chance to play the Health Lottery which now has more chances to win”.

George proceeds to see the coin change shape into both a loaf of bread and a pint of milk, before buying his ticket and daydreaming of what he could do with the potential winnings.

Stressing that its concept was one of “an unexpected lucky windfall,” the lottery stated that the implication of spending outside of those budgeted everyday items was reinforced by the voice-over statement “it’s George’s lucky day”.

Furthermore, The Health Lottery believes that references to items such as a loaf of bread or milk were made to indicate “that the cost of a Health Lottery ticket was inexpensive compared to the potential reward that players could receive,” with there being no suggestion that someone should spend money on a ticket instead of eating and drinking.

Finally it was also pointed out that the £1 coin had not been taken from George’s wallet, a point backed up by the ASA who stated: “The ad played on the common joke that money could be found down the back of a sofa, and that money found unexpectedly in such places, was a bonus”.

Adding: “We noted that when the man entered the shop, he was not shown pondering whether to buy food or a lottery ticket, but had entered the shop for the specific purpose of buying a lottery ticket with the £1 he had found.

“The ad did not suggest that the man chose to buy a lottery ticket instead of bread and milk that he needed, but rather those items were included merely by way of comparison to show that everyday food items could be bought for the same price as a £1 lottery ticket, and that if spare money was found, it could be spent on a lottery ticket.”

Not upholding the complaint, the ASA concluded that the ad was not irresponsible and did not break the code.