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Revolut faces probe from City watchdog over 'single-shaming' adverts on Tube

 'To the 12,750 people who ordered a single takeaway on Valentine's Day. You ok, hun?' says Revolut

Ben Chapman
Friday 08 February 2019 16:20 GMT
The ASA has passed on a 'small number' of complaints in connection with the ads
The ASA has passed on a 'small number' of complaints in connection with the ads (Iona Bain)

The City watchdog will probe an advertising campaign by banking app Revolut which some have accused of “single-shaming”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has referred complaints about Revolut’s ads to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Revolut’s adverts said: “To the 12,750 people who ordered a single takeaway on Valentine’s Day. You ok, hun?”

Critics suggested the ad used patronising language and served to remind people of banks’ improper use of their data.

The founder of the Young Money Blog Iona Bain shared a photo on Twitter of a Revolut advert that she’d spotted on the London Underground.

“How much does this ad infuriate me? Let me count the ways. Firstly, patronising language and awful single-shaming more redolent of early 2000s Bridget Jones, not a modern and empowered fintech brand,” Ms Bain tweeted.

“Secondly, the way it pries into people’s private spending and exploits it so strangers can laugh at perfectly valid life choices that – we’re all expected to agree – are sad and pathetic. Not exactly caring and progressive.”

The advert has drawn comparisons with a series of 2016 Spotify posters, one of which seemingly expressed concern for singletons on Valentine’s Day.

“Dear person who listened to the ‘Forever Alone’ playlist for four hours on Valentine’s Day, you OK?” the caption on the poster read.

In a statement on Friday, the ASA said: “We received a small number of complaints in connection with the Revolut ads.

“Where these make claims about the product or service it falls within the remit of the FCA, and we have passed on complaints that deal with these for their consideration.”

Revolut said it was hosting a Valentine’s Day drinks event at its London office for “anyone who doesn’t yet have plans”, but declined to comment on the adverts.

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