Finland Just Made the Bleakest Lottery Ads of All Time

Subtle humor with rays of hope

Finland's supposed to be the happiest nation on Earth. But you'd never know it from the folks in bleakly funny Lotto ads created by SEK, part of the Grey agency network.

The work itself is kind of grey, actually, offering quick takes on Finns who seem a tad downtrodden, but buoyed by the chance to win big. It's a refreshingly subtle, even artful approach for the typically rah-rah category.

Highlights include the shiniest golden sports car of all time, plus a woman who gets splashed repeatedly by passing motorists as they drive through puddles. (She has her reasons for standing there, people!)

Finland Lotto Holiday
Finland Lotto Car
Finland Lotto Kiosk

"We truly understood how incredibly loved the Lotto brand is in Finland and wanted to embrace that," says SEK creative director Lauri Gran, "It felt wrong to start telling people what to do if they win or create anything other than moments that reflect the very existence of who we are as a nation."

SEK earned praise a few years back for its "Rent a Finn" initiative on behalf of the nation's tourism bureau.

Though creatively dissimilar, the Lotto spots work a similar vibe. They pack compelling authenticity that doesn't overstate its case and rewards repeat viewings. That's always a smart bet.

"Our first meeting with the director, Teemu Niukkanen, was probably the most Finnish meeting anyone ever had," Gran recalls. "Teemu normally likes to challenge us and put his own spin on the scripts. But in this case, we showed him the scripts, he went 'Yup,' and that was it. He did add some small changes. Well, one. He added another splash of water!"

As for that shimmery Ferrari, "Finland isn't exactly packed with super cars," Gran concedes. "Luckily, our production assistant Milja Kipahti found the perfect site and we got our car. It's so insane and out of place [in those stark surroundings] that it really puts the icing on the cake."

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