UK advertising body slams financial services firm over Brexit-related ad

Maria Nikolova

Advertisement stating “No one really knows what’s going on with this whole Brexit malarkey … and some say it could affect the amount of food available” has been found to be irresponsible.

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has earlier today issued a ruling upholding a complaint against a financial services company whose Brexit-related ads sparked people’s fears.

The complaint concerned an email from Cash On Go Ltd t/a Peachy.co.uk, which specialises in short-term loans. The ad, dated January 24, 2019, 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 … Things can pop up even when you think everything is going swimmingly … That’s when you might need a little extra help”.

Bold text stated “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY PRESS HERE” and offered a promotional discount.

The complainant challenged whether the ad irresponsibly encouraged people to take out a loan by playing on their fears.

The ASA upheld the complaint as the Authority considered that many readers would see Brexit as a high-profile, topical and often contentious subject, about which there was a great deal of disagreement, including regarding uncertainty over the availability of essential products and general economic stability post-Brexit.

The ASA said the overall approach used in 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. In particular, the ad’s references to possible food shortages and the stockpiling of food were likely to play on some people’s concerns regarding Brexit.

The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. The ASA told Cash On Go t/a as Peachy.co.uk to ensure future ads did not send an irresponsible message about debt to readers.

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