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Spain’s Xmas Lottery

‘Justino’ becomes first animated star of Spanish Christmas Lottery ad

New commercial follows last year’s hugely successful campaign, and 2013’s flop

This year's Christmas Lottery's TV ad features animated characters.

In 2013, opera singer Montserrat Caballé and pop crooner Raphael were the stars of the advertising campaign for Spain’s massive Christmas lottery, known as “El Gordo” (literally, the fat one).

But despite its high production values, the spot became one of the most derided of the season, and was endlessly parodied by comedians and internet users, some of whom recut the advert into something resembling a horror film.

In 2014, Christmas lottery ticket sales jumped 4.64% compared to the previous year

Last year, however, lottery organizers changed tack, basing their campaign around the heartwarming tale of a man who is devastated to see the customers of his local bar scoop the big prize the one year he didn’t buy a ticket. But to his surprise, the bar owner then reveals he had put one by for him, meaning he does have a share of the jackpot after all.

This year, and for the first time since El Gordo was first drawn in 1892, the National Lottery has opted to use animated characters to front its campaign, which begins on Tuesday.

The main character is Justino, a night-watchman at a mannequin factory. Justino’s hours mean he never gets to see any of his co-workers, but he communicates with them by leaving the mannequins in a variety of poses and places. As in last year’s ad, he too is touched to discover he has been included in the company’s lottery syndicate.

This year’s El Gordo draw will be held on December 22, with more than €2.24 billion in cash prizes up for grabs.

“This draw is the most important of all,” explains Inmaculada García, head of the government’s State Lotteries and Betting (LAE) agency. “The Christmas Lottery is our own tradition, something that doesn’t take place in any other part of the world or at any other time of the year.”

As they do every year, children from Madrid’s San Ildefonso School will sing out the winning numbers during the live broadcast.

The Christmas Lottery brings in around 29% of all of LAE’s revenue. Tickets cost €20 for one tenth of a share – or a décimo – in a number, or €200 for the entire run of a number.

Lottery officials say that, as the last number, 5 has formed part of winning ticket the most – 32 times. The numbers that have appeared the most overall in winning tickets – 27 times – are 4 and 6.

The last number that has appeared the least is 1, followed by 2 and 9.

In 2014, Christmas lottery ticket sales jumped 4.64% compared to the previous year.

Only two winning numbers have been repeated since the lottery was first held: 15640 in 1956 and 1978, and 20297 in 1903 and 2006.

In the 204 draws held, tickets bearing a number between 0 and 10,000 have been prized 63 times: those between 10,001 and 30,000 have won 73 times; and those in the 30,001 to 99,999 range 69 times.

English version by Martin Delfín.