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Watchdog bans personal loans ad


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against a personal loans advert.

A recipient had complained that a direct mailing in September 2016 from Belfast-based Creation Consumer Finance Ltd was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication.

The advert arrived in a white windowed envelope, which showed the recipient’s address on the cover letter and on the back of the envelope stated: “If undelivered, please return to Creation Financial Services PO Box 7578, BIRMINGHAM B26 3FD”.

Creation believed that the document enclosed within the envelope was clearly identifiable as marketing material, but that the envelope itself did not need to be.

The company also stated that the envelope did not feature any information that misleadingly suggested it was from an official source, was private correspondence or likely to have misled recipients about the importance of its contents.

However, the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) requires advertisers to ensure that their marketing communications are obviously identifiable as such.

The ASA concluded that the envelope constituted part of the marketing communication and had not made it sufficiently clear that the mailing was an advertisement.

As such, the watchdog ruled that the advert breached the CAP Code and must not appear again in its current form.

Creation Consumer Finance Ltd was also told to ensure that their future direct mailings made clear before opening that they were marketing communications. 

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