It might pay to take another look at Lotto's latest TV ad.

The ad, which first graced Kiwi TV screens in late June, has carried a secret message this whole time.

Scattered throughout the story of a fateful motorcycle accident in Thailand are a series of hidden numbers that the casual viewer would have missed.

"The ad's a Lotto ticket," says advertising executive Damon Stapleton with a grin on his face.


"There are seven numbers dropped throughout the ad."

Lotto NZ has allowed the ad to run as a standard campaign until now, leaving viewers unaware that the secret numbers have been in front of them all this time. But that changes this week, as the campaign kicks into its second phase.

Stapleton, who works as chief creative officer at ad agency DDB, says there were a number of reasons behind the decision to take the latest Lotto ad beyond a standard story.

"There was a great director who used to say: 'People always worry about ads being watchable the first time, but I'm worried about them being watchable the second time,' " says the creative boss.

"And one of the ways you can get people to watch something over and over again is by telling them that this is a ticket.

"You get longevity when people can find interesting bits in what you've made."

In modern advertising, it has become standard practice for companies to produce a TV ad and then place it on YouTube. The problem, however, is that no one ever bothers to look up the ad once it has been placed online. At best, advertisers can pay to have an ad distributed through users' social feeds, but there's rarely little to be gained in watching an ad more than once.

Lotto NZ chief marketing officer Annemarie Browne says the aim was to reward those who are willing to spend a bit more time watching Lotto's ad.


"There is a misconception that people's attention spans aren't what they used to be," says Browne.

"Yes, people are impatient if content is not entertaining, but they will quite happily watch a whole season of a show in one go if it's rewarding and entertaining. We're hoping people get a little more out of this latest Imagine ad than they expected."

Kiwis who do manage to spot all the numbers will be able to enter an online competition (hosted at and go into a draw to win $10,000 as well as a range of other cash prizes.