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ASA bans Health Lottery ad over mortgage promise

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19/12/2012
The Advertising Standards Agency has banned a lottery advert on the grounds it depicted its £100,000 prize as a solution to mortgage debt and financial insecurity.

The ad, titled “Mortgage? What Mortgage?” was one of a series produced by the Health Lottery suggesting winners could spend their prize – in this case an estimation of the value of a UK mortgage. According to the ASA, this breached marketing rules as it portrayed participating in the lottery as a solution to financial concerns.

In the ruling it stated: “The ASA considered that the headline “Mortgage? What Mortgage?” implied someone who had participated in the lottery and won would be in a position to pay off their mortgage debt.

“We understood that for many people, their mortgage debt was substantial and was the largest debt they carried, and the option of paying that off would be viewed by many as a solution to their financial concerns as it would be a way out of debt.

“We noted The Health Lottery’s comment that the top prize of £100,000 would not be enough to provide financial security but we disagreed. We considered that for some people, especially those with mortgage debt, £100,000 would offer a degree of financial security.”

Chadney Bulgin mortgage partner Jonathan Clark said the prize money would allow a lot of people to pay off their mortgage, but not in the South East: “I think £100,000 is a little out of touch. The fact they banned it shows a distinct lack of humour.

While paying off mortgage debt might be a relief, it was only one part of the monthly cost of living, he added. “Most people perceive their financial security to pay off their mortgage, but if the average person looks at their bank statement, it is not everything.”

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