Today, following a review of ads for payday loan products, we are publishing new Guidance to bolster the rules that prevent ads trivialising the serious nature of taking out short-term high-cost loans.

The Guidance clarifies the spirit in which the rules must be interpreted, particularly the rule that requires ads to be responsible to the audience and to society. It provides clear warning that ads risk breaching this rule if they:

  • suggest loans are a suitable means of addressing ongoing financial concerns;
  • condone non-essential or frivolous spending; or
  • unacceptably distort the serious nature of payday loan products.

The Guidance suggests that animation, catchy upbeat jingles and humorous themes are used with care, and proposes phrases to help payday loan advertisers communicate reasonable benefits of the product e.g. " It helped out as my boiler was broken and I was two weeks away from pay day ".

BCAP’s review of the content of TV ads for payday loans, which involved independent ASA Council members, assessed 145 ads against the rules and did not find substance in perceptions that some payday loan ads are aimed at encouraging children to ask their parents to take out a payday loan. For the avoidance of doubt, no ad may directly exhort children to purchase a product or to ask others to do so for them: CAP, BCAP and the ASA undertake to act quickly and effectively to tackle any ad that falls foul of this important rule.

The guidance comes into immediate effect and can be accessed here

Public consultation on scheduling of TV ads for payday loans

During the content review, we received research from the Children’s Society and evidence submitted in response to our call for evidence, which has prompted us to launch a public consultation on scheduling of TV ads for payday loans. The consultation will be launched by the end of July 2015.

Broadcasters are currently required to exercise responsible judgements on the scheduling of ads and avoid unsuitable juxtapositions between advertising material and programmes, including children’s programmes. A public consultation will help BCAP to determine if the potential harm and risk factors posed by TV ads for payday loans are appropriately addressed by the current combination of content rules, and the new Guidance launched today, or if more needs to be done to restrict the TV scheduling of ads for short-term, high-cost loans.

*In order to gather and review properly the broadcast data that will inform its public consultation and, mindful of the summer holiday period, so that key stakeholders and interested parties are available and able to input fully to this process, BCAP plans to launch the consultation at the beginning of September.

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