Former Dunedin mayor blasts Lotto over 'pathetic and incompetent' $15 million Powerball ad

A former Dunedin mayor has slammed Lotto over a "pathetic and incompetent" advertisement for last Saturday's Powerball draw. 

Lotto's advertisement read: "Imagine the weather in the Mediterranean $15 million tonight."

Former Dunedin mayor Aaron Hawkins posted on Twitter saying Lotto should "read the room" before putting out its advertisement.  

"Honestly. Read the room @Lotto_NZ. Or even just the news?" Hawkins said.

Hawkins also cited an Associated Press story headline that said: "Tourists and residents warned to stay inside as deadly heat hits Europe during peak travel season."

Temperatures in Europe are soaring. Greece's capital Athens and its surrounding areas could be hit with all-time highs as the heat wave heads towards a mid-week climax.

In Sardinia, Italy, 48C was recorded on Monday which is the highest temperature ever observed in Europe during July.

The heat wave has persisted for more than two weeks in Greece, Italy, and much of surrounding southern Europe, as well as northern Africa.

Also, massive fires continue to roar in several areas, including through the countryside near Athens and on the Greek island of Rhodes.

Hawkins wasn't the only one to complain about Lotto's advertisement. 

A person on Linkedin said Lotto were "pathetic and incompetent" for releasing the advertisement. 

"Marketing professionals have to at least read the newspaper before talking about places," they said.

"Otherwise, they end up coming up with idiotic advertisements. 48C in Italy you morons! South and Central Europe have been on fire for weeks."

Lotto's head of corporate communications Lucy Fullarton told Newshub it was aware of the commentary around the advertisement and understood the complaints. 

"We did see the comments online around our Powerball advertisement over the weekend - and completely understood the concerns in light of the extreme weather events in Europe and the devastating impact of those," Fullarton said. 

She told Newshub that Lotto removed the advertisement as "soon as we could" and confirmed they wouldn't be running it again. 

"We would like to apologise to anyone who found it upsetting," Fullarton said. 

"As context, this advertisement was part of a wider Powerball advertising campaign which was developed months in advance. 

"However, we totally take the point that pre-planned campaigns still need to be responsive to fast-moving events - and we will be learning from this situation."