Advertising agencies are always measured by what came before - and in the case of Lotto, that benchmark has become unusually high in recent years.

From its epic Pirate Ship to Mum's Wish to Armoured Truck, Lotto's stories have created the expectation that the brand will give viewers something more than just a standard hard sell that offers a 50 per cent discount when a new ad drops.

"It's a challenge we've created for ourselves," says DDB chief creative officer Damon Stapleton as he sits down for a chat about the creative process involved in the company's latest ad.

"Every year, you start to create something that people wait for. It does create a bit of pressure, but it's something I call happy pressure in the sense it makes us try to be better.


"People are always worried about ads being watchable the first time. I'm worried about ads being watchable the second time."

Stapleton says it was particularly challenging to follow-on from the Armoured Truck ad because it ticked so many boxes in terms of what makes a good ad.

"It's very rare that you can create a story that doesn't seem contrived or weird," he says.

In approaching the creative brief for the latest ad, Stapleton says the team took inspiration from the world of film in an effort to offer the audience something that plays with narrative progression, jumping backwards and forwards in time.

"We're not exactly David Lynch or filmmakers, but we are trying to tell stories that are interesting without it being linear," he says.

"A lot of advertising today is quite old fashioned in that people still tell stories in a very linear fashion, so we've really gone out on a limb here."

As opposed to the previous ads, which hid the Lotto brand until the end, the latest ad reveals the company name right at the start, and then takes the viewer on a wild adventure through the streets of Bangkok.

Stapleton says it took the writers 25 scripts to find one that they felt would turn into an ad that appropriately captured the mood they were going for.


"To play with time in a 30-minute Netflix episode is one thing, but to do it in a 90-second advert is different," he says.

The cynic would, of course, ask what the point of this effort is and why companies should even bother pushing so hard to create adverts that entertain.

"Creativity is a great multiplier in terms of value, but whether businessmen believe that or not is up for debate," he says.

"It also matters because it's cost-effective. If you do something that stands out and gets noticed, then you can flight it less. Think about Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad and the return on investment they got on that versus what they what they would've got if they just did a normal ad."

While not every marketer believes in the power of creativity, Lotto chief marketing officer Annemarie Browne has seen the impact of investing in good ads in recent years.

"In today's fragmented media world, with boundless entertainment options, advertising that doesn't surprise doesn't get noticed," she says.


"But just as our games were created to give back to the community, our commercials should give back to the people that watch them. That's the hope anyway."

But as is always the case with advertising, the challenge will now be ensuring that they deliver on that promise again next year and the year thereafter.