A TV ad for payday loans featuring Kerry Katona has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
In the ad Katona said: “We’ve all had money troubles at some point, I know I have. You could see your bank and fill in loads of forms, but is there an easier way to get a loan; check out www.cashlady.co.uk, with cash lady it’s simple to apply for up to £300. It’s dead fast too. If you’re approved, the money goes straight into your account. So if you need extra cash go to www.cashlady.co.uk. Fast cash for fast lives. That’s www.cashlady.co.uk.”
On-screen text stated “T&Cs apply. Cash Lady is a non charging broker. 18+. Approval subject to status. Representative APR 2670%. Representative example: £180 borrowed for 28 days. Interest = £52.50. Total payment = £232.20. Interest rate 378% (variable)”.
29 complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it focused on Kerry Katona’s financial crisis and encouraged people in similar situations to borrow money.
The ASA considered that viewers would understand from the ad that because of her previous money problems, Kerry Katona had sufficient personal experience to be able to offer financial advice to those who may have found themselves in financial difficulties.
Although the ad did not specifically refer to her bankruptcy, the ASA considered that viewers, who were familiar with her and were able to identify with her, would also have been aware of it because it was widely publicised.
The ad watchdog therefore considered that some viewers, made vulnerable by financial problems and who may also have had restricted access to credit, may have inferred from the advice given by Katona that the Cash Lady loan was advisable for those already having financial difficulties.
Although the ad said loans could be provided for up to £300, it made no reference to the fact that these loans were intended for short-term stop gaps between pay days and were not intended as a more immediate solution for more serious financial problems. This was exacerbated by the claim that “you could see your bank and fill in loads of forms”, which would be understood by some viewers to mean that it would be too onerous to contact a high street bank about “money troubles” and that the Cash Lady loan was a more desirable way to help solve a financial problem.
The ASA was also concerned that the ad, which used Katona’s celebrity as a theme, would cause some viewers to understand the claim “fast cash for fast lives” to mean that the payday loan would help to fund a celebrity style lifestyle.
It therefore considered that references to KK’s financial problems alongside the presentation of the ad more generally had the potential to encourage vulnerable viewers with financial problems and/or restricted credit from seeking to resolve them through the payday loan service and concluded that the ad was therefore irresponsible.