A TV campaign fronted by former bankrupt Kerry Katona offering payday loans with the strapline "fast cash for fast lives" has been banned for being irresponsible.
The reality TV star, who refers to her "money troubles" in the TV ad for Cash Lady, was declared bankrupt in 2008 after failing to pay a tax bill.
"We've all had money troubles at some point, I know I have," says Katona in the TV ad. "You could see your bank and fill in loads of forms, but is there an easier way to get a loan. it's dead fast too. Fast cash for fast lives."
Cash Lady offers loans of up to £300 a month with an annual percentage rate of 2,760%.
The appearance of the former Atomic Kitten singer in the TV ads has sparked critcism since they debuted in January .
The Advertising Standards Authority received about 30 complaints that the ad was irresponsible because it focused on Katona's earlier financial problems and encouraged people facing hardship to borrow money.
Parent company PDB UK said that Katona was chosen precisely because she has had money problems, as customers would be able to "relate to her".
It said the ad was not irresponsible as it did not make a direct reference to her bankruptcy.
The company added that its "fast cash for fast lives" strapline referred to the
more convenient, flexible service it offered to people with busy lives compared with visiting a bank for a loan.
The ASA said that viewers familiar with Katona would have been well aware of her "widely publicised" bankruptcy.
Some viewers with financial problems, and perhaps restricted access to credit, may have inferred from Katona's advice that a payday loan was advisable, the regulator added.
The advertising watchdog also said that in light of the celebrity-themed status of the ad some viewers would think that the "fast cash for fast lives" strapline meant that payday loans would help fund a high-flying lifestyle.
The ASA banned the ad on the grounds that it was irresponsible, misleading and failed rules on social responsibility.
"We considered that references to [Kerry Katona'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."
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Category: Payday loans