Magazine article Marketing

Branson Lottery Bid Heralds First Marketing Fight of Next Century

Magazine article Marketing

Branson Lottery Bid Heralds First Marketing Fight of Next Century

Article excerpt

The confirmation that Richard Branson really is going to bid again against Camelot for the National Lottery licence will tee up one of the first great marketing and PR battles of the next century. The contest to see if something different is going to follow 'It could be you', and 'Maybe just Maybe' will, in publicity terms, be short and sweet.

The Lottery Commission, the body that decreed that [pounds]100m worth of working Camelot terminals should be junked to help ensure there is a competition for the new licence, has also issued another surprising diktat. Once bids go in on February 29 applicants are "requested to refrain, so far as their applications are concerned, from media contact". There are to be no press releases, no promotional material and no staging of promotional events. This will come hard for Branson as this 'request' will undoubtedly cover hot air balloons publicising The People's Lottery and abseiling down Nelson's column. So you can expect a serious outburst of Branson between now and February 29.

Such a publicity ban by the Lottery Commission is pompous and just plain draft. Maximising the publicity surrounding the Camelot/People's contest would be a huge plus for the National Lottery, which has seen sales reach a plateau. Peter Davis, the man who ran the previous lottery regulatory body, Oflot, tried to impose just such a ban last time. Davis was prepared to listen and after first announcing a ban on publicity, decided to leave the matter up to the applicants. It should be the same this time.

A Branson bid is, however, great news that will enliven some of the dog days of the new millennium and will also ensure that, once again, the Camelot team will have to sharpen its pencils. …

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