An advert by high interest loan specialists Wonga has been ruled ‘irresponsible’ by the Advertising Standards Authority for giving the impression that the process of taking a high interest loan was one that could be taken lightly.
The advert parodied the popular 1950s pop song ‘Mr Sandman’, transposing the new lyrics: “"Mr Wonga lend me some dough. Make it the simplest loan that I'll ever know.”
The ad was cleared over a separate complaint that it was irresponsible to broadcast the ad at times when it could be heard by children.
The ad was found to breach the ASA’s code on social responsibility.
“We noted the light, breezy, sing-along music, but considered that the style of the song itself was unlikely to give the impression that taking out a high interest loan was a decision that could be taken lightly. We also considered that it was clear that most of the claims such as "the simplest loan that I'll ever know. Give me two choices when I go online" were referencing the efficiency of the application process,” the ASA said.
“However, we were concerned that the claim "Mr Wonga you make it easy when the month feels too long" gave the impression that a high interest short-term loan was something that could routinely be taken between paydays in order to supplement a monthly income.
“We considered that the claim gave the impression that a high interest short-term loan was not a financial commitment that required a great deal of consideration and that impression was also compounded by the claims about the simplicity of the application process.
“Because the ad implied that it was suitable to routinely use a payday loan for the purpose of supplementing a monthly income without much consideration, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible.”
The ASA ruled that the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.
We told Wonga to ensure that their ads did not imply that payday loans could routinely be used to supplement an income,” it added.