Online lender marketing banned for being 'socially irresponsible'

Pounds to Pocket, an online lender offering loans with an APR of 278%, has had its TV ad banned by the UK watchdog for being misleading and socially irresponsible.

Pounds to Pocket: ad deemed socially irresponsible
Pounds to Pocket: ad deemed socially irresponsible

The firm, part of US-owned firm CashEuroNet UK, launched a TV ad offering a 20% discount on the first repayment of a 12-month loan of up to £2,000.

In the ad, by Happy Hour Productions, a voiceover said: "With a Pounds to Pocket 12-month personal loan, you can get up to £2,000 sent to your bank account in 10 minutes."

Accompanying on-screen text stated, "No paperwork. No guarantor," while small print stated, "Representative 278% APR." The ad also showed three individuals praising the lender, with one stating: "I was turned down by the mainstream lenders. I wish I'd gone to Pounds to Pocket first, as their application was fast and simple."

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received two complaints about the Pounds to Pocket ads. One challenged whether the APR % rate was made sufficiently clear in the ad, while another complained that its claim that Pounds to Pocket was preferable to "mainstream lenders", due to them being "fast and simple", was misleading and socially irresponsible.

In both cases, the ASA upheld the complaint. In the case of the APR, the watchdog felt the ad had breached its code by not giving the rate greater prominence than the 20% repayment discount incentive.

It also censured the ad for implying Pounds to Pocket would provide loans to consumers who might otherwise consider their access to credit restricted, and thereby might "mislead vulnerable consumers who were in financial difficulty".

The decision to ban the ad for being "socially irresponsible" follows a campaign by a number of politicians against payday lenders. Labour MP Stella Creasy has been a vocal critic of sites, including Wonga.com, and has called for a ban on all marketing by short-term loans companies.

Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off Campaign's relaunch than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).