The Children’s Society Wants Payday Loan TV Ads Banned

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Children's Society Wants Payday Ads BannedCampaigners have recently been seeking a ban on payday loan TV ads. This rather bizarre news story was floating around last week. Campaigning groups including the Children’s Society set a proposal to block advertisements during any shows watched by a sizeable audience of children such as The X Factor. I thought most kids were hooked on tablets around the clock? This is not the first time that The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (Bcap) have been steered on this topic. Last year the government made a request to Bcap to consider looking at a total watershed ban on payday loan commercials. The pressure certainly looks to be mounting and this issue won’t be going away anytime soon.

The Children’s Society argues on the impact of singing satsumas (re: Satsuma Loans) and other companies using catchy jingles to make borrowing money seem easy and fun to kids. Other than Satsuma, I haven’t seen any payday loan ads that could be conceived as being appealing to children. They believe that there will be added pressure on parents to take out high-cost credit as we approach Christmas. Bcap commented: “Our call for evidence found little robust evidence of advertising-related harm. We believe that there are gaps and inadequacies in the evidence base we have seen. Particularly, that the precise harm that scheduling restriction might help to prevent has not been articulated!” Spot on.

You kind of get the feeling that campaigning groups are just looking for an excuse to rattle the cage. The reputation of this industry couldn’t really get much worse and it is clear that this market is in steady decline that is evident through Wonga’s Recent Troubles. A decline has been seen since price capping was enforced in early 2015 and lenders have been extra selective and responsible since they are all feeling the heat. So much so in fact that it is very easy to get your credit licence revoked these days. Strangely people don’t overly criticise the banks. Overdrafts (especially unauthorised) can be horrendous. Most people constantly live in their overdrafts.

It is also rare to see people raging on about logbook lenders. If you miss payments there they’ll knock on your door and snatch your car keys out of your hand. These firms and the banks are never in the spotlight though. You wonder why gambling companies get a free pass. What about the fun and vibrant bingo ads and glamorous Ladbrokes Life adverts? Isn’t it bad enough that late night roulette is screened on multiple channels? You do often hear the odd story of payday loan debts getting out of hand and so it understandable that regulation needs to be tight. On the flipside, I am constantly reading about lives that have been destroyed by gambling.

Don’t the bookies prey on the vulnerable? You only have to look at the retail betting shops that have took over high streets with those nasty fixed odds betting terminals. I always found it amusing recalling the Bolton Wanderers boycott of QuickQuid after fans set up an online campaign and rallied outside the ground. There was an absolute outrage at the QuickQuid deal (that was later cancelled) and yet I can’t recall Bolton fans uttering a single complaint when 188Bet were their kit sponsor. I just find it difficult computing why there is a wolf pack mentality here and no fingers pointed elsewhere. Has this resulted from media brainwashing? Email/SMS spam? No idea.

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