Wonga's game show deal challenged by Twitter protests

By Maisie McCabe, marketingmagazine.co.uk, Tuesday, 07 August 2012 09:35AM

Ant and Dec, Simon Cowell and ITV have become the target of a Twitter campaign led by a Labour MP after the TV channel signed a deal for the new series of 'Red or Black?' to be sponsored by controversial lender Wonga.com.

Wonga: sponsors 'Red or Black?'

Wonga: sponsors 'Red or Black?'

After Media Week revealed that Wonga.com is set to sponsor the new series of 'Red or Black?' yesterday, Labour MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy asked presenters Ant and Dec (@antanddec) to use their influence to speak out against the deal.

Creasy (@StellaCreasy) tweeted: "Hey @antanddec can I persuade you not 2 promote legal loan sharks by saying no 2 Wonga sponsoring red or black? http://bit.ly/OI1IRX  RT"

Wonga.com is seen as controversial because its short-term loans carry a typical APR of 4,214%. Creasy believes they amount to legal loan sharks and contribute to putting families even further into debt.

Since her first Tweets yesterday she and the campaigning account @sharkstoppers have been re-tweeting other users’ comments about the deal.

For example Shirley Humphreys (@singhdasa) said: "Dear @antanddec, do you know what Wonga does & its impact upon vulnerable lives? Appropriate for family favs like you? Ask @stellacreasy".

Rich Mills (@richymills) tweeted: "Hey @antanddec @simoncowell look at the tweets from @stellacreasy – she's right about http://wonga.com ! Some social conscience please."

Campaigning by Creasy contributed to Transport for London banning controversial loans companies from signing big money sponsorship deals, such as the free tube and bus travel on New Year’s Eve.

An ITV spokesperson said: "Wonga is a well known brand and the sponsorship of 'Red or Black?' is fully compliant with Ofcom regulations."

Last week Wonga launched a digital platform called Openwonga.com, which aims to "inform the debate" around the brand and improve its reputation.

A spokeswoman for Wonga.com declined to comment.

The sponsorship was negotiated by PHD with idents created by Albion.

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk

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