A Labour MP has urged the television presenters Ant and Dec to speak out against a deal allowing the controversial short-term loan company Wonga.com to sponsor the duo’s new ITV1 game show.
The return of the prime-time series, Red or Black?, will be sponsored by Wonga, in a deal believed to be worth £1 million.
Wonga, which offers instant £1,000 short-term loans with an APR of 4,214 per cent, has been criticised by Labour MP Stella Creasy, who wants to see tougher regulation for high-cost lenders she has described as “legal loan sharks.”
Wonga, criticised by the Office of Fair Trading for using aggressive and misleading debt collection methods, will use the slogan “Straight talking money” during its sponsorship of the show, which is co-produced by Simon Cowell’s Syco company.
Creasy tweeted: “Hey @antanddec can I persuade you not 2 promote legal loan sharks by saying no 2 Wonga sponsoring red or black?”
She urged her followers to contact Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly directly, tweeting: “Send a message to @antanddec that Wonga is wronga until there's caps on the cost of credit - email for their agent is firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The presenters have so far declined to respond. Wonga said the sponsorship would be a “great way for us to continue raising awareness of our brand and services.”
The Football League has ended a Wonga deal sponsoring its websites after a fan campaign called for the lender’s adverts to be removed.
Last month, the Advertising Standards Authority considered 82 complaints about Wonga’s targeted marketing campaigns but cleared the company of wrongdoing.
Red or Black? will be revamped following complaints from the Gambling Commission that the roulette-themed show encouraged gambling. A nightly £1 million jackpot will be reduced to £500,000 and contestants must use more “skill and judgement” to win the big money prizes. A giant roulette wheel to be used during the game has been scrapped.
ITV defended the Wonga sponsorship saying the deal was “fully compliant with Ofcom regulations.”