People’s Postcode Lottery: next generation media thinking?

People’s Postcode Lottery: next generation media thinking?
Fred Sirieix in one of the People's Postcode Lottery ads.
The Media Plan

Ella Sagar explores the media strategy behind the People’s Postcode Lottery’s new campaign that features a collaboration from rival broadcasters ITV, Channel Four and Sky.

The People’s Postcode Lottery’s latest campaign involves multiple executions of talent-led spots on ITV, Sky and Channel 4,  as well as “a roadblock” ad across all three broadcasters combining all three ads into a 90-second hero spot on 25 November at 9.15pm on the eve of its biggest draw of £17.3m.

David Pullan, managing director of PPL, hails the latter execution as a UK media first.

Pullan tells The Media Leader: “It helps show the market our ambition, but also our scale, and the kind of innovation that we want to see.

“For the broadcasters, it’s a great example of them of working actively but in a complimentary way. They’re all going to do well out of this deal but also, it allows them to showcase their digital products. The fact that we can do stuff in out-of-home, showing how flexible they can be commercially. I think it’s a great example of next generation media thinking.”

Lottery advertiser’s ‘crescendo point’

The PPL and its media agency the7stars integrated broad reach and targeting into their media planning for this two-week multichannel campaign running from 11 to 26 November.

Pullan describes December as “the crescendo point for our year’s activities”, coinciding with its biggest sales month of the year, with an accompanying “big sales target”.

He tells The Media Leader this year’s campaign builds on a successful partnership last year with ITV. The question for this year, Pullan says, was how to top last year’s campaign, do something bigger and better from an impact perspective, and target both its broader audience from across the country, and connect with identified growth audiences.

Getting rival broadcasters to agree

When they came on to the brief in May/June, the7stars advised that PPL needed to “expand its universe”, and bring in the other broadcasters for this year’s campaign to help get the nation engaged and be more targeted to a younger audience than its traditional player base.

ITV helped set up the collaboration, Pullan reveals: “We have a great relationship with ITV and a lot of support from the commercial team, and so they’ve effectively supported the7stars in terms of engaging the other broadcasters to really outline does a significant commercial opportunity for them here because of our scale as an advertiser.

“Our media budget is £65m in the UK, so there’s a significant opportunity both for Sky and Channel Four, both in this Christmas campaign, but also more broadly in the future, therefore it was commercially was in their interests to come to the table.”

the7stars suggested a talent-led approach  with talent from the different broadcasters to talk to their audiences, so the brief went to the three the internal production teams to make something that “felt native to the channel”.

There are bespoke activations on broadcaster video-on-demand (BVOD) platforms, using pop-ups when someone pauses a show on Channel Four for example, and idents on ITV. The use of BVOD also allowed PPL to be “very, very hyper target” to make sure they did not bombard existing players, of which there are 4.2 million to avoid wastage.

Pullan highlights this shows how the broadcasters business models and ability to deliver ambitious ideas for commercial partners “are very different to what they were 12 months ago”.

He also describes the experience of working with the broadcasters as “really positive” and added: “I have to say I have done some big things in my career but as a process it was fantastically easy to do despite the scale of it, because, like with anything, if you have seen the buy-in with your commercial partners from the beginning, then they go in with the right attitude which is how do we make this amazing, how do we capture this opportunity for us and for you as our partner. I think for them this will be a great case study for other advertisers to go: here’s what you can do if you can think big enough.”

Broad targeting and growth audiences

PPL calls its broad targeting “reach the nation”, which is adults aged 25+ because it is a regulated gambling business which does not advertise to under-25s.

Qualitative and quantitative research from the brand’s ad agency VMLY&R identified three new growth audiences which included: 50-plus and active (in the community or with charities), younger couples with preteen children, and a future pipeline of players who will potentially become long-term players.

As an example, the first audience are the the kind of people who see retirement or children leaving the nest as an opportunity to start life again, Pullan explains. And while there are already many PPL players in that category, there is “a lot of headroom there” and it’s a great audience for all three broadcasters because of audiences for Sky Sports, Channel Four documentaries, and ITV big tentpole programming.

For the future pipeline of players, Pullan says they needed to introduce them to the brand and proposition, particularly the work it does with charities having raised £1.2bn for good causes since it started.

On this note, one of the key KPIs, outside of increased new subscription sales, is brand consideration.

Pullan says: “We need to grow brand consideration. We have very high awareness but our consideration scores, particularly among the younger audiences, are lower than we’d like, so we’re actively working on building those and all three broadcasters can help with that process.”

Using TV talent off-air

Talent from the TV spots will also be seen off-channel across large screen digital out-of-home, including big format 96-sheets, Piccadilly Lights and Cromination.

Pullan says OOH was not traditionally part of the PPL marketing mix, but after testing over the summer found that “it really works”, particularly in combination with television.

More off-air executions included the talent committing to promoting the PPL on their personal social media feeds, which are “slightly different” for each star in terms of audiences they speak to, alongside paid social using targeting opportunities within Meta and Google to “deliver those messages to the right audiences where we know that those presenters and those programmes will really resonate with them in their social feeds”.

“We haven’t just filled the spot with the broadcasters, we’ve actually done a multifaceted multi-channel idea that has come to life in outdoor but also in digital and social and on television. That really demonstrates how these, what we traditionally think of as broadcasters, are kind of no longer really broadcasters, they are content businesses.”

Pullan hopes that the broadcasters will see this campaign “as a great foundation for doing more bigger and better things in 2024.”

He added: “Competing with Google and Facebook for advertising dollars is a tough place to be, but I think what we’re hoping to show is is that the power of television, when it’s engaged in the right way, and in the right context of a broader campaign is still unmatched. Hopefully, at the end of this, we can all open the bottle of champagne and go: this proves that television is still highly relevant in our modern media landscape, if it’s done the right way.”

Strategy Leaders: The Media Leader‘s weekly supplement with thought leadership, news and analysis dedicated to excellence in commercial media strategy.
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