Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Power of 5: A Lottery Commercial Catches My Eye

When I visit my mom I see a lot more television than normal.  Actually normal means I see bits and pieces people post online.  The ads tend to be better than they used to be - often great images, quick messages, even humor.

This one particularly caught my eye.  It's just good video.

[UPDATE October 28, 2014:  I've been getting lots of hits on this one today - mainly from Asia, particularly Taiwan.  So I came here trying to figure out what's happening.  First, the video I liked so much is now Private so I deleted it. But I found this Chinese ad (see below)
for the California Powerball. Maybe that explains the hits. I think Californians know they are competing for this with people from other states, but do they know that Chinese are in the competition too? That may raise the prize, but it lowers the odds. What are Californians going to say when the news shows a guy in Taiwan as the winner? But the money goes to a good cause right?

This is NOT the great video I originally posted.]

World Lottery Association - has members on all the populated continents, including California.  They are all state operated lotteries and they have a set of "Responsible Gaming Principles."  I found number six directly related to marketing lotteries. 
6.   "WLA Members will provide the public with information in an accurate and balanced manner to enable individuals to make informed choices about gaming activities within the lotteries’ jurisdiction. This commitment requires the following:
a. That the marketing of lottery activities and products be subject to reasonable operator self-regulation, and promote responsible gaming practices and informed choices.
b. That individuals shall be provided with accurate information about gaming and the risks associated with it, for example, organizing education program."
 I don't see anything in the ad above that could be considered "providing accurate information about gaming and the risks associated with it."  This ad goes directly to a person's emotional responses, in the guise of some sort of scientific setting. 

I'm ambivalent about lotteries.  My sense is that people who can least afford them, spend on them.  But I also recognize that people who are virulently against taxes, will happily give their money to the government for a lottery ticket.  Lotteries are for the statistically impaired.  But then people will point out all the winners - somebody will win!

Talking About Numbers found that the numbers of lottery winners were difficult to retrieve, but found that people were about 100 times more likely to be killed in a car accident than to win a lottery. (37,000 die in car accidents and "winning tickets that pay out one million dollars or more only number in the hundreds.")

And winning apparently changes people's lives, not always for the better.  The NY Daily News offers some anecdotes like this one:
 "I had to endure the greed and the need that people have, trying to get you to release your money to them. That caused a lot of emotional pain. These are people who you've loved deep down, and they're turning into vampires trying to suck the life out of me."

California lottery  tells us that they do good things with the money:
"Initially, the Lottery Act capped administrative expenses at 16 percent of sales and required that 34 percent of sales go to education.

In April 2010, the Legislature passed Assembly Bill 142, which changed the Lottery’s funding formula to follow best practices. Those practices have helped lotteries throughout the nation increase sales and earn more money for their beneficiary.

AB 142 limits administrative expenses to 13 percent of sales, while requiring that 87 percent of sales go back to the public in the form of prizes and contributions to education. The law gives the Lottery the flexibility to pay out a higher percentage of its revenues in prizes than it has in the past, but only if it does so in a way that increases the total amount of money that goes to public schools and colleges."

The World Lottery Association is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, and they have a chart with membership fees

Gross sales Fees
up to US$ 100 million CHF 4,900 (@$5,208)
US$ 100 to 500 million CHF 5,600
US$ 500 million to 1 billion CHF 8,400
US$ 1 to 4 billion CHF 14,000
over US$ 4 billion CHF 21,000 (@$22,322)

If you want to keep track of what's happening in the world of the lottery business, there's a website called Lottery Insider.

I also found out the Power of Five also refers to
A dark story of the supernatural. Matt a young man with unusual powers finds himself in the midst of sinister goings-on. His investigations uncover a terrible secret - eight guardians are protecting the world from the evil ones, beings banished long ago by five children. But a shadowy group want to let the evil ones back in. Can Matt succeed in stopping them...


  1. Power of 5 commercial, shows 5 Airstream trailers on a California beach. Where is that?

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