Payday Loan Company TV Ads Explode 3,500% as Businesses Target Children and Teens

A new study from the telecommunications regulator Ofcom reveals that the number of announcements rose from 11,000 in 2009 to 397,000 last year.

Heavy Rotation: Wonga Payday Loan Company TV Commercial

The number of television commercials for payday loans has skyrocketed by 3,500% – companies targeting poor households with children, shocking study finds.

Companies like Wonga have spent a fortune on short-term loans as families grapple with the crippling recession.

A study by telecommunications regulator Ofcom found that in 2009, 11,000 payday loan advertisements were broadcast on television. But that figure had risen to 243,000 in 2011, then to 397,000 last year.

This has led to a jump in the number of people watching ads – from 12 million views for all adults in 2008 to 7.5 billion in 2012, which is 152 times per person.

Ofcom data shows that lenders are targeting the less well off. The average low-income adult has seen the number of payday loan ads doubling – 203 – as better off because of the way the ads are placed.

Even more worrying is the exposure of children to advertisements that cause loans to charge up to 5,000% annual interest.

The Ofcom report showed that an average child aged 4 to 15 saw 70 payday loan ads last year. About 3% of these ads were shown on children’s television programs. Others appear regularly on music channels popular with teenagers.

The revelations come as the city’s regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, prepares a crackdown on payday lenders with new powers next April.

Chancellor George Osborne has also pledged to cap the cost of loans – in a historic victory for the Mirror’s End Legal Loan Sharking campaign.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Officer Gillian Guy said: “Payday lenders shamelessly and irresponsibly use advertisements to attack poorer households in an attempt to capitalize on the cost of living crisis .

“They should not target children and teens with ads. It is deeply concerning that children and teens were exposed to three times as many payday loan ads in 2012 as in 2010.

“More and more ads are appearing on music and TV channels popular with teens and young people as lenders try to attract the next generation of borrowers.”

The Unite union has called for a turn around 9 p.m. for payday loan announcements.

Deputy Secretary General Steve Turner said: “This research paints a horrific picture of a generation of children and young people dragged into a culture of debt.

“It’s not just children who are infected with a payday lending culture – research shows people are borrowing £ 660 a month just to pay for food, shelter and heat.”

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