Simon Read: Wonga ad ban won't stop kids being exposed to its deals

A radio ad for payday lender Wonga was banned for being irresponsible. It rewrote the words to jaunty Fifties hit Mr Sandman to praise the lender for its simple loans.

In doing so it breached a social responsibility rule in the advertising code and cannot be broadcast again. But the Advertising Standards Authority failed to uphold a complaint that Wonga was irresponsible to broadcast the ad when it could be heard by children.

The authority concluded that "the ad was unlikely to result in any harm to children". That may be so but, in my view, using cheerful ditties and jolly puppets is hardly a responsible way to advertise an important financial decision.

The ads may not be targeted at children but they seem to be squarely aimed at simple-minded folk who may not understand the financial trouble they could be getting into by taking out an expensive payday loan. We need tighter controls on advertising to cut out potentially irresponsible ads.

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