'Social life' payday loan ads axed



Text messages promoting a payday lender have been banned for suggesting that the loans are suitable for funding a social life.

The three messages for firstpaydayloanuk.co.uk said: "Hi mate. I'm still out in town, just got £1000 in my account from these guys..," "I'm still out in town, just got £850 in my account from these guys..," and "You have been pre-approved for up to £1000 cash today. Apply now...and receive your cash within 15 minutes."

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 13 complaints that the texts were unsolicited, irresponsible for suggesting that a loan should be used to fund a social life and familiar to the point that it was not clear that they were a marketing communication.

First Financial Ltd, trading as FirstPayDayLoanUK, said it was only responsible for setting up payday loan websites, which were then passed on to advertisers, and had no control over the marketing.

Marketing company Akklaim Telecoms did not respond to the specific complaints or provide evidence that recipients had given their explicit consent to receive the messages.

The ASA noted that one of the complainants had received the messages despite registering with the Telephone Preference Service marketing opt-out system.

It concluded that the messages "implied that it was suitable to use a payday loan for the purpose of socialising" and "would be likely to be understood by recipients as personal messages".

It ruled that the ads should not appear again in their current form, adding: "We told First Financial and Akklaim Telecoms to ensure text message ads were clearly identifiable as marketing communications and were only sent to those who had given explicit consent to receive them.

"We also told them to ensure ads did not imply that payday loans were suitable for spending on a social life."

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