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Christmas is on its way and that means the clock is counting down to the famous Spanish Loteria de Navidad. It takes place every year on December 22 and this week the state gaming agency Selae has launched its television ads publicizing the draw.

The Loteria de Navidad – popularly known as El Gordo (the Fat One) – will have an incredible €2.24 billion in prizes if all tickets get sold, making it the world’s biggest lottery in terms of total prize payout.

The El Gordo lottery dates back to 1812 and is the second longest continuously run lottery in the world. It is common place for people to queue up for hours at certain sales points considered to be lucky, and tickets get sold months in advance.

Already guaranteed to be winners are advertising firm Leo Burnett, who have been paid €840,000 by the state agency to produce this year’s ads for the El Gordo. The slogan this year is “El mayor premio es compartirlo” (The best prize is sharing it). Each ad shows how the lottery touches people’s lives, often indirectly.



The main story features a man who somehow managed to forget to buy his usual lottery ticket from his local bar. Unbelievably that number went on to win the top prize in the El Gordo and we see him going for a cup of coffee, practically in tears, understandably so.

Another ad shows a woman who finds a folder which tells of all the things her deceased parents promised to do if they ever won the lottery. Then there’s the story of a couple who fail to win the lottery but decide to get married all over again.

The El Gordo ads were filmed in several areas of Madrid and of course there’s some snow. Director Santiago Zannou explains: “we threw in the snow, to make the neighbourhoods a little less gritty and introduce a bit of beauty.”

This year, the soundtrack for the El Gordo is Glacier by James Vincent McMorrow, an Irish singer-songwriter. Zannou says: “We wanted a good song to stick in at the last moment, when the actors have already pulled on our heartstrings and a tear is starting to roll down your cheek.”

Purchase your El Gordo de Navidad lottery tickets online at and share them with your loved ones.