A Health Lottery advertisement has been banned because it implied that the game created more winners than the National Lottery, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled.
A ruling today from the advertising watchdog said the Health Lottery TV advert, which ran in May, was misleading because viewers would conclude that a reference in the advert to the game creating "more winners" was in reference to the National Lottery, or Lotto.
A voice-over on the advert said: "There’s never been a better time to play the Health Lottery... and with over £100m handed out in prize money, there are more winners too."
It featured several previous Health Lottery winners, one of whom said: "Lotto became too expensive with too many balls in the machine."
One viewer complained that the advert was misleading.
The ASA’s ruling says the Health Lottery said the claim was not intended to suggest that the game had more winners than the National Lottery.
It said the claim that it had created more winners was a reference to the fact that the number of draws that took place for the game had increased from one when it was launched in 2011 to five by 2015, meaning there were more prize winners.
The advert clearance service Clearcast supported the Health Lottery’s claims, the ASA's ruling says, and said it felt the statements implied there were more Health Lottery winners since the game was launched.
But the ASA rejected the claims and banned the advert.
It found that it was unclear from the advert as to what the claim of "more winners" referred to and considered viewers were likely to interpret such a claim as a comparison of some kind.
Given that the advert had referenced Lotto the ASA concluded that viewers were likely to understand the claim was a comparison about the number of winners between the two games.
"Because of that, the Health Lottery needed to hold relevant comparative data showing both the number of their winners and that of Lotto," the ruling says.
"However, we had not seen any evidence to demonstrate that the Health Lottery had had more winners than Lotto and therefore, we concluded the ad was misleading."
The ASA ruled that the advert should not appear again in its current form and told the Health Lottery not to imply that it had more winners than the National Lottery.
A spokesman for the Health Lottery said it would respect the ruling.
"Over the past five years, the Health Lottery has given more than £80m to local good causes and more than £100m to prize winners," he said.