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Case Studies


Department Of Health ‘Sex Lottery’ marketing campaign

Department Of Health ‘Sex Lottery’ marketing campaign

“A tricky brief…but this manages to deliver the lecture without appearing heavy. The parallel with the lottery is a good one and the use of scratchcards… are inspired. A perfect marriage of idea, media and message.”
(Charles Inge, Clemmow Hornby Inge)


The Government’s Sexual Health Strategy 2001 made uncomfortable reading, with dramatic increases in the rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), visits to Genito-urinary Medicine (GUM) clinics and new diagnoses of Chlamydia and HIV.

Engaging communications were required, forcing a re-appraisal of attitudes and a change in behaviour:

A stereotypical Government ‘finger waving’ approach would be rejected.


1. Effect attitudinal and behavioural change by:
Raising awareness of the ‘killer facts’
Dramatising the increased risk of unsafe sexual behaviour
2. Allow for targeting of socially disadvantaged groups and key regional ‘hotspots’ of STI incidence.
Target Audience
18-30 year olds (core 18-24), especially C2DEs

Creative Solution

The means of dramatising the increased risk was taken from a world familiar to the target audience - that of gambling

‘The odds of catching an STI are shorter than you think and you’re gambling by not wearing a condom’

Media Solution

Delivering Information (Effecting Attitude)

Radio was upweighted in regional ‘hotspots’ at appropriate times of week i.e. Friday and Saturday evenings and provided impact by subverting the ‘lottery show’ concept. See below for script.

Press advertising was placed in lifestyle magazines to deliver more detailed information by gender.
Online ‘scratchcard banners’ drove traffic to the campaign website ( for further information e.g. symptoms, plus a tactical viral game around Valentines Day.
Dramatising the Message (Effecting Behaviour)
To engage the audience, the lottery concept had to be adopted in ‘what’ was said and ‘how’ it was said.
The most powerful embodiment of this was the Sex Lottery Scratchcard.

These subverted a familiar lottery format and engaged the audience at pertinent moments - in pubs and bars - as close as possible to the point of action, or ‘Point of Shag’!
Hitsquads handed out scratchcards at targeted venues in ‘hotspot’ towns.
Gender-specific washroom posters and humorous, interactive beermats were also used.

It is currently too early to provide concrete results.

Website visits average at 35,000 per month.

Helpline calls increased by 32 per cent in active campaign periods, with the majority coming from 18-35 year olds.

Over 100,000 free condoms and 1.5m scratchcards were distributed in pubs and bars.
“Not only has it created a large talking point with our clients… but also the graphic nature of the posters has generated an increase in condom sales. This sort of advertising really works and let’s hope has saved a few lives.” (The Manager, The Crazy Horse Public House, Paignton)
Sexual Health professionals embraced the idea:
“Those of us working in a field where it is notoriously difficult to get across messages about sexual health are delighted with the creative and innovative approach taken by this campaign… it’s witty, hard-hitting and memorable.”
(Jo Adams, Director, Centre for HIV and Sexual Health)

Radio Script
Radio Script: The Sex Lottery Show
Client: Department of Health/COI Communications
Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren
Duration: 40”
SFX: Drum Roll
SFX: The Sex Lottery jingle
SFX: Applause, cheering.
MV1: Shouting to the audience)  Are you ready to go out and flirt?
Entire Audience:  Yes!
MV1:  Do you want to have sex?
Audience:  Yes!
MV1:  Are you going to use a condom?
Audience:  Um, hope so, but you know what it’s like!
MV1:  (Still shouting to audience)  And did you know that 1 in 9 16 to 44 year olds have had a sexually transmitted infection?
Audience: (Still all together)  Really?  1 in 9?  That’s quite a lot!
SFX: Cheesy music, applause and cheering.
MVO:  Don’t play the Sex Lottery. Use a condom.  For more advice visit or call 0800567123.

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