Media Partners | Contributors | Advertise | Contact | Log in | Wednesday 22 March 2023

A Couple of Million too Many?

29th July 2011

Share This Article:

At the beginning of January 2011, Colin Weir and his wife, Chris became the winners of Euro-millions biggest giveaway - £161 million. However, no less than a week after claiming the money, the couple have gone into hiding in Spain after being hit by a flood of begging letters from the public.  Undoubtedly, it was the publicity which the Weirs earned following their win which triggered it but if the implications of having “fifteen minutes of fame” is so great, why did they choose to do it in the first place?

The Weirs claimed that they wanted this televised interview to avoid having to hide it from family and friends; however, they probably had not accounted for the rest of the British public who had a television at home.

Before we start attributing this to plain naivety, we must consider the possibility that other factors are present too – almost certainly there is and it takes the form of Camelot, UK’s national lottery operator.

According to Camelot, they do provide a service to winners by helping them deal with the social implications of sudden wealth (i.e. begging letters). A rather generous offer - but it is only open to those who choose to go public. So, while winners are free to choose anonymity, they must bear the risk of not getting any professional support in the event word of their win gets out. 

Winners are being forced into a corner for the sake of media attention – Euromillions advises that “The game is a media target” and that “curious outsiders enjoy digging for any information about past and present lottery winners…” Hence the publicity is more for the curious public rather than the winners themselves.

Perhaps the decision is not as easy as many would expect it to be. Even if they did not go public, the Weirs would still be at risk of publicity from word-of-mouth and without the support from Camelot, it may have been too much for the couple to handle alone.

There is clearly a disparity between how winners view publicity and how the lottery provider views publicity. While the former sees it as a way of gaining emotional security amongst loved ones, the latter sees it as somewhat of a media stunt.

The free choice of the winners to either go public or quietly slinking away with the money is somewhat plagued by the terms and conditions set by Camelot. Had that not been the case, perhaps the Weirs might have had a completely different story.

Articles: 29
Reads: 201489
© 2023 is a website of Studee Limited | 15 The Woolmarket, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2PR, UK | registered in England No 6842641 VAT # 971692974