The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an ad from the loan company Peachy for encouraging consumers to stockpile food as Brexit uncertainty heightens.
Before the government voted against a no deal Brexit last week (13 March), fears over potentially disastrous consequences were reaching fever pitch.
From fundamental medicines to basic grocery items, some people across the country were stockpiling as if an apocalypse was about to hit. One brand to jump on the stockpile frenzy was Peachy, which ran an ad that encouraged the public to stockpile food.
The email ad sent out on January 24 stated: “… no one really knows what’s going on with this whole Brexit malarkey… and some say it could affect the amount of food available… We do not want to believe that Brexit could 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.”
The email offered a promotional discount when receivers clicked on the button “In case of emergency press here.”
The ASA received a complaint that challenged whether the ad irresponsibly encouraged financially vulnerable people to take out a loan by playing on their fears.
In its defence, Peachy stated the high-cost, short-term credit was not suitable as a means of resolving financial difficulties, and therefore it intended to promote its product as a benefit for those temporarily in need of money to cover occasional unexpected shortfalls.
It said that the mention of Brexit was made in a lighthearted manner to avoid causing actual concerns, and it did not believe it was suggesting customers should take out a loan because of uncertainties over a no-deal.
Despite this, the ASA chose to uphold the ad, because although the ad used a lighthearted tone, it did not use definitive language regarding the future.
It said 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 if they did not, they risked being unable to feed themselves or their families.
The ASA, therefore, thought the ad’s references to possible food shortages and the stockpiling of food were likely to play on some people’s concerns regarding Brexit.