You've seen the ads and you've had the nightmares. That "Little Bit o' Luck" guy from the latest ad campaign for New York State Lottery's Take 5 game.
In the TV ads and the very disturbing subway placards, a tiny balding man with huge eyeglasses let's us know that he's all we need to win the lottery. The flaw here is that he's not lovable or even trustworthy — he's plain creepy. Not since the Crispin advertising agency decided it was a good idea to "reanimate" Orville Redenbacher has a campaign struck fear in the hearts and minds of its target audience.
Don't believe me? Have you seen the subway posters? There's nothing like eyeballing this tiny slimeball on your morning commute. Isn't life challenging enough without adding this type of imagery to the daily routine?
Chances are if you're a chronic lottery player, you're not thinking about this little guy at all. You're too busy trying to summon supernatural forces on your own to bring home the bacon. These ads are meant to hook folks like me (and you?) into playing the game. Not for nothin' but it's having the opposite effect.
NYS Lottery, however, seems to think this Little Guy is so lovable that it has created a few online games featuring him. Yes, what I really want to do is spend a lot of time with a character who looks like someone who I wouldn't trust to sell me a used car much less use as a good luck charm. For the NYS Lottery, I'd suggest they'd need Little's twin — Lotsa Luck — for that.
Homer Fink is publisher of Brooklyn Heights Blog