A leaflet for Speedy Cash featured an image of Father Christmas and text stated "FREE PHOTOS WITH Santa FRIDAY DECEMBER 13TH 12-4pm EVERY CHILD GETS A Christmas Treat! 410 Brixton Road, Brixton, SW9 7AW 0207-737-7867 SPEEDY CASH".
MoneySavingExpert.com challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because they believed it trivialised the advertiser's service and was targeted at families with children.
SRC Transatlantic Ltd t/a Speedy Cash said the ad was intended to celebrate a happy time of year and a seasonal event with their local community. They said it was distributed at store level only. They said the event offered local people the opportunity for a free photo with Father Christmas, and that their aim was to demonstrate their continued relationship with the local community. They said the leaflet in no way sanctioned the use of their services or any of their product offerings, which also included non-credit facilities.
The ad did not make any references to the services offered by Speedy Cash, either specific or general, and the only reference to the brand was in the "SPEEDY CASH" logo. The ASA understood that Speedy Cash offered a variety of services, including payday loans, cash for gold and cheque cashing, and that not all of them involved the use of credit. Because the ad did not make reference to any of their services, or how any cash that was obtained might be spent, we did not consider that the ad trivialised Speedy Cash's services or that it was socially irresponsible on those grounds.
We considered that the nature of the event meant the ad would be of particular relevance to families with children and of particular appeal to younger children. We understood that there was no age restriction on who could enter shops that offered services including payday loans and that the nature of the event meant that children would be accompanied by their parent or guardian. However, we concluded that marketing an event aimed at children which took place in a shop that offered services including payday loans was socially irresponsible.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. (Social responsibility).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Speedy Cash not to target ads for in-store events at families with children.