Advertising the lottery isn’t a huge challenge. Simply create far-fetched fantasies and convince people that it could all be theirs if they just spend $1.00 on one ticket. Or create an ad that serves as a smiling, twinkly-eyed friend saying, “Hey, you never know.” Either way, the lottery is an easy sell. It’s inexpensive, readily available, and tempting to try.

In David & Goliath’s new campaign for the California Lottery, a set of “unforgettable characters” convey the adventures that are suddenly possible when a lucky scratcher strikes it rich.

A 30-second TV spot introduces the first of these characters, an average man and his mutt, Corny. But lo! This man’s lottery card is lucky and he transforms instantly into a debonair British man with a twirly mustache. Corny becomes Cornelius the Genius (he invented long division and wears a suit), and they all fly away in a hot air balloon. The campaign also includes an interactive rich media banner in which users can outfit the fortunate gambler and his pampered pup.

While slightly fun, this campaign misses its chance to be creative. Ridiculous luxury and life-changing moments are tried and true lottery schticks. Maybe I’m biased by my home state, but I much prefer the Oregon Lottery’s old, low-fi ad from Boarders Perrin and Norrander. I find the plodding mattress man more of a charming character than Cornelius and his good-old-boy owner.

Credits after the jump.

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