ASA bans 'Payday Pig' advert for irresponsibly trivialising borrowing


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The Independent Online

Using a cartoon pink pig to encourage you to “treat yourself and a loved one to a weekend away or a slap-up meal” is not a responsible way to flog payday loans, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled.

It branded the Payday Pig website run by Stop Go Networks as “irresponsible” and accused it of “encouraging frivolous spending of borrowed money”.

The website featured brightly coloured images of smiling cartoon pigs, including one pig that appeared to have glistening gold coins coming out of its back.

“Although we acknowledged that consumers were likely to understand piggy banks to be associated with frugal financial planning, in the context of promoting a short-term loan and in light of the fact that the piggy bank appeared to be spilling its contents, we did not consider this connotation to be clear or relevant,” The ASA said.

It banned the ad after saying the use of cartoon pigs gave the impression that the service offered was one that could be approached in a light-hearted manner.

Citizens Advice has launched a campaign to highlight irresponsible advertising and the use of celebrity endorsements and cartoon characters in adverts.

Chief Executive Gillian Guy said of the Payday Pig website: “It is inexcusable to trivialise borrowing by suggesting it can be used for treats and non-essential spending.  It is good to see the ASA taking tough action to protect consumers. Banning this advert sends a strong message to payday lenders that irresponsible advertising will not be tolerated.”

A radio advert for Britain’s most profitable payday lender Wonga was similarly banned last year for being irresponsible. The ASA slammed the ad - which featured a rewritten version of the popular 1950s song Mr Sandman - because it “implied that it was suitable to routinely use a payday loan for the purpose of supplementing a monthly income without much consideration”.