The Bishop vs Wonga: Church calls on its almighty PR powers to take down payday lenders


By Andy Barr | Head Yeti

July 25, 2013 | 4 min read

In the beginning there was nothing and lo, God invented loans at a 10 per cent interest rate

Has Wonga met its match?

OMFG there is a war brewing. The right honorable member for the Archbishop of Canterbury (I missed out on Sunday School) has gone after Wonga in the style of Ryanair and this is going to get messy.

The Bish, Justin Welby, came out yesterday and said that he wanted to put Wonga out of business courtesy of his own brand, aka the Church of England, launching its own credit union to lend people money.

That’s right, the Bish just did product launch PR 101: go after a competitor and be controversial.

However, he may be messing with the wrong people as Wonga is not adverse to the odd spat, and it is interesting that the smearing campaign has already started.

Yep, that’s right, someone is trying to bash the Bishop already!

The national media are this morning running with a story that Bish Welby is rumoured to have sat on the Parliamentary Banking Standards Commission.

Before you get all “meh, so what”, the same cheeky wags are pointing out that it is somewhat hypocritical that he should attack the banking sector for poor standards when he was on a commission panel that was supposed to be addressing those said dodgy standards.

Now I wonder who dug that information up and leaked it? Hmm… alongside that leaking/briefing against the Bish was also some general discrediting work. It has also emerged that before our Bish found the Good Lord he actually worked for the not so God-fearing oil industry.

That’s right, the now Arch Bishop of Canterbury, the highest job you can get in the UK religious scene, actually worked for an oil company once. What does this mean?

It is obvious, we all know that this means he must have been involved in the destruction of Brazillian and African villages and clubbing seals/drowning rare birds in oil. Or maybe not… again, the smear tactics are just trying to dirty up his reputation by associating Brand Bish with a tarnished sector.

Will the Bish rise again? Of course - The Church has one of the slickest PR machines in history. Lets look at some of its more famous stunts: water to wine, feeding five thousand with just a few fish and the main David Copperfield-esque one, convincing the masses that the main man rose from the dead.

I admire the Bish for going all Ryanair with his approach but if he thought Moses had a tough time parting the sea, he has seen nothing: them pay day loans companies are going to go after him, and hard.

DISCLAIMER: We once worked with a payday loans company for a short time on a reputational brief. Ironically, we did the work and they didn’t pay. We are charging them 4000 per cent interest on their debts.


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