The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a large payday lender from using a promotional email which suggested that consumers may want to take out a payday loan to guard against the possible effects of a no-deal Brexit.

The email included the following text:

“… 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”.

Additional bold text in the email stated “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY PRESS HERE”

In their representations to the ASA, the firm said that they were simply promoting the idea that life was uncertain, and that adverse events do occur, and said that the reference to Brexit had been made simply to make the advertisement topical. They suggested that the advertisement specifically mentioned that they did not think Brexit would actually affect the amount of food available, and said they were sorry that the wording of the email had been misinterpreted.

However, the ASA decided to uphold the complaint made by a member of the public. The Authority decided that the advertisement could exploit the concerns of vulnerable consumers and lead to them taking out more credit than they were able to manage.

The ruling said that the advertisement “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.”

The ASA concluded that the sections of the Code of Advertising Practice relating to responsible advertising and ‘harm and offence’ had been breached.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article