Pounds to Pocket’s radio ad featured Bert the alien who had come to Earth in search of a quick loan.
The advert begins with a newsreader stating: “Breaking news. Alien life forms are coming to Pounds to Pocket for help with their finances. Earlier, I interviewed an alien known simply as Bert. Here’s what he had to say.”
And what did Bert have to say? Well in his distorted ‘alien’ voice he replied: “Well I needed a loan quickly. So I looked on your internet and found I can apply for a loan anytime, anywhere.”
But one listener objected to Bert’s search for short term credit and complained to the ASA that Bert and his cohorts were trivialising the loan process.
However Pounds to Pocket hit back saying that Bert’s search for credit was not out of this world and “essential” as illustrated by his saying “I needed a loan quickly”.
Pounds to Pocket explained that the alien was part of a wider advertising campaign and was intended to highlight to listeners the convenience of being able to apply for a loan online.
The lender said: “In this case, the ad was intended to show listeners that the alien, despite not living on Earth, was still able to apply for a loan from Pounds to Pocket without any problems.”
But the ASA upheld the complaint against Pounds to Pocket as it found that both the advert and Bert’s reasons for his loan failed to measure up to their standards.
The ASA said: “The ad did not offer any explanation as to why Bert had found it necessary to take out a loan.
“We considered the use of an alien character removed the ad and the process of taking on debt, from reality which could disguise the seriousness and consequences of taking out credit.”
The ASA has now ordered that the advert be pulled off air.