During a recent wait for a train we were captivated by this out-of-home advertisement for the partial privatization of the Spanish Lottery. Putting aside the fact that the ad is still up two weeks after the Spanish government called off the sale, the work still captivated us for the blithe disingenuousness with which it attempts to convince people gamble on a venture whose business is gambling.
First let us concede that we think the piece is quite beautifully designed - particularly given the circa-1983 aesthetics of the Spanish Lottery's corporate identity.
Next, forgive us our elementary Catalan and allow us to offer a translation of the ad:
CONFIDENCE, PROFITABILITY AND STABILITY. A 250-YEAR TRACK RECORD.
Very soon you will be able to invest in the National Lottery.
If one thing's for certain, it's that people will never stop dreaming.
*We didn't bother with the fine print, but we wonder if it includes the usual disclaimers about the value of stocks moving up and down?
The copy's so compelling that it even holds up in English, and we love to dream as much as the next gal or guy. But if you deconstruct it just a little bit, isn't it basically encouraging financial speculation on an addictive habit? After all, statistically speaking, YOU WILL NEVER WIN the lottery. And if we've learned nothing else from the last few years it's that stocks are far from a sure path to riches–even if you're talking in 20-year terms.
Okay, okay, we don't mean to moralize too much. We've been known to buy the occasional ticket and scratch card. But something about the retail advertising of equities doesn't feel quite right, and in support of a business that depends on what is, in some instances, a regressive tax? That's not work we dream about doing.