ASA bans payday loans firm advert for capitalising on 'Brexit fears'

Keiligh Baker's picture
by Keiligh Baker

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an "irresponsible" ad from short-term loans provider for seeking to capitalise on consumers' Brexit fears.

The company, which is part of Cash on Go Ltd, sent out an email ad which offered loans to people wishing to stockpile goods ahead of the planned transition on March 29.

Bold text stated “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY PRESS HERE” and offered a promotional discount.

The email then read: “We do not want to believe that Brexit will impact the amount of food available but it's still a good idea to have a little stockpile ready.

"That way you're always prepared for the worst… Things can pop up even when you think everything is going swimmingly… That's when you might need a little extra help."

A complainant said the ad irresponsibly encouraged people to take out a loan by playing on their fears, which was upheld by the ASA.

This message was deemed "irresponsible" by the ASA for preying on "financially vulnerable customers". Peachy denied this and claimed the message was "light hearted" but the ASA ruled the ad must not appear again in the form complained of.

The ruling stated: "We considered that many readers would see Brexit as a high-profile, topical and often contentious subject, about which there was a great deal of disagreement, including regarding uncertainty over the availability of essential products and general economic stability post-Brexit.

"We acknowledged that the ad used a light hearted tone and did not use definitive language regarding the future, and concluded that “credit decisions should be made after careful consideration”.

"However, we considered the overall approach used was likely to put emotional pressure on readers to the effect that it was sensible to go further than they would otherwise have been able to afford by taking out a loan and that, if they did not, they risked being unable to feed themselves or their families."