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LONDON-Just a year ago, the U.K. had no lottery. Yet today, an estimated 80% of all Britons regularly play the brand-new national lottery operator, Camelot. The lottery's marketing director, Jon Kinsey, has been a force in making the game a winner.

Today, the unrivaled state-run U.K. Lottery is the world's biggest: An estimated $8 billion will have been spent at retail on U.K. lottery tickets in the year ending March 31, 1996. More than 92% of adults in the U.K. have bought tickets, and 65% play weekly, plunking down $144 million a week on tickets and scratch cards.

Mr. Kinsey, 34, already knew how to get the public to play games when he arrived on the job in November 1994, the month of Camelot's launch. Succeeding Karen Brennan, who put a solid marketing plan in place, Mr. Kinsey had been VP-Europe of board games, Hasbro (UK), Uxbridge, England, where he developed European marketing plans for such Milton Bradley Co. and Parker Bros. games as Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit.

To keep people playing games of a different nature, Mr. Kinsey has been using some major firepower. Of his annual $80 million marketing budget, $52 million goes to ad spending, and $28 million is spent below the line.

TV spots by Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, London, feature a giant hand descending from the sky and pointing to Britons, as a voice booms, "It could be you." The hand logo is also used for print ads.

"It really summarizes people's feelings about playing the lottery," Mr. Kinsey said.

Because of the breadth of the target audience, nearly $42 million annual ad spending-80% of the above-the-line spending-goes to TV, and the rest goes to print and outdoor.

"It is a marketing challenge unlike any other, in that we are trying to get 70% of the population to play every single week of the year," Mr. Kinsey said. "So that brings with it some huge positioning challenges, to make sure that the product and its brand image have appeal to a wide and very varied player base."

In March, Mr. Kinsey helped start up Camelot's Instants scratch-card game, its first new product since the original launch. Instants, an immediate success, accounts for a third of sales.

More importantly, Instants sales have been incremental and have not cannibalized other lottery sales, Mr. Kinsey says.

"That has been a huge challenge-to make sure that the Instants product and its positioning were very different from the online game," he says.

More new lottery products are in the works, and preventing cannibalization will be a continuing marketing challenge. But it's a challenge that the marketing director of the U.K.'s biggest-selling brand seems ready for.

"When you have this much of the U.K. population buying your product every week," he said, "it is a huge, huge success."

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