Loan ad banned for using Brexit uncertainty to encourage food stockpiling

An ad for a high-cost loan which used uncertainty around Brexit to encourage consumers to stockpile food has been banned for being socially irresponsible.

A January 24 email from Cash On Go, trading as Peachy.co.uk, a financial services company specialising in short-term loans, 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 will 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.”

Bold text stated “In case of emergency press here,” and offered a promotional discount.

The Peachy email. (ASA/PA)
The Peachy email (ASA/PA)

A reader complained that the ad irresponsibly encouraged people to take out a loan by playing on their fears.

Peachy said the ad referred to Brexit to make it topical and to reflect some situations where people might find it difficult to fully prepare for unexpected scenarios.

It believed the mention of Brexit was made in a light-hearted manner to avoid causing any actual concerns.

The lender said they would not use the ad again and would ensure they “considered public sensitivities more thoroughly”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the ad 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 that, if they did not, they risked being unable to feed themselves or their families.

The ASA said: “We considered that the ad’s references to possible food shortages and the stockpiling of food were likely to play on some people’s concerns regarding Brexit, including financially vulnerable consumers who were already struggling or worrying about their financial situation.

“We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible.”

The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, adding: “We told Peachy to ensure future ads did not send an irresponsible message about debt to readers by, for example, putting emotional pressure on them to take out a short-term loan.”

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