Payday Loans – Serious Business

22nd March 2017

Payday (or High-Cost Short-Term) loans have been one of the most contentious advertising sectors for a few years now. The ASA and CAP have performed a number of reviews of how the rules are working and what kind of claims can be made, the most recent of which focussed on trivialising credit. Here’s a quick overview of the current state of play.


What is a payday loan?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sets the definitions for financial products. A High-Cost Short-Term loan is credit offered with an APR of 100% or greater, and which must be repaid, or mostly repaid, within 12 months.


The Rule

The key rule which the ASA use when considering complaints about trivialising credit is one of the broadest, with applications well beyond financial ads:

1.2 – Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society.  


The Issue

Taking out credit is a serious financial decision which should be treated in such a manner in ads. Anything which makes it seem like payday loans are a fun, quick thing to be taken out without due consideration, for frivolous non-necessary reasons or on a regular basis is likely to be seen as a breach of the Code.


Due Consideration

Focusing on how quick and easy the process of getting a loan is, even if it’s an accurate depiction of the process, could be seen as trivialising credit. This is particularly the case if any implication of the speed of the process takes precedence over the ‘serious’ factual elements such as the APR.


Frivolous Reasons

Going on a shopping spree isn’t considered an acceptable reason to take out credit. The same goes for holidays, and other things which are avoidable expenses. What’s considered an unavoidable expense could vary depending on circumstances, so context is always important. One-off unexpected bills for things such as white goods or car repairs could be acceptable depending on the presentation of the ad.


Regular Basis

Loans shouldn’t be advertised as a long-term solution to financial problems, or as a top-up for wages. As above, a one-off bill may be a justifiable reason but ongoing bills are not likely to be acceptable regardless of context.



Regardless of the messaging in the ad, the tone on its own could render an otherwise fine ad unacceptable. Songs, jingles or a catchy, rhyming VO are likely to be seen as too light-hearted or distracting from the seriousness of the product. Animation should be used with great care, particularly if it’s likely to appeal to kids. This doesn’t mean that loan ads have to be dour and full of people in suits, but any light-heartedness mustn’t distract from the seriousness of taking out a loan and the important financial information in the ad (like the Representative APR).


Further Information

CAP has published a guidance note on this very topic, which you can find here.


It was recently decided that HCST credit ads do not need to be given a scheduling restriction to keep them away from children; nevertheless treatments must not be of particular appeal to children.


There are a great many other things to consider in credit advertising, many of which are legal issues stemming from section 3 of the Financial Conduct Authority’s regulations here. We will always ask for agencies and advertisers to provide a legal view on the presentation of the financial information in proposed ads. Our Knowledge Base hosts a Consumer Credit Act compliance form which you can download here.


Find this useful? Why not have a read of our overview of the alcohol rules or exploration of harmful emulation.

Early closing 31st March – 13th April

21st March 2017

We’re undergoing a major office refurb here at Clearcast HQ. This means we’ll have a bigger training room, additional space for meetings and a larger work space for us too.

So we can relocate everyone at their new workstations, and make sure all the computers and phones are running tickety-boo, we’re going to need to close the office a little earlier than usual for a while.

From Friday 31st March to Wednesday 12th April, the office will be closing at 5pm rather than 6pm.

On Thursday 13th April the office will be closing at 1pm.

Our offices will be closed on Friday 14th  April (Good Friday) and Monday 17th April (Easter Monday). We’ll be back in the office with our services running as normal after the Easter break on Tuesday 18th April.

If you normally leave it until later in the day to upload videos, please try to get things in earlier for those two weeks. 

We will be working closely with the broadcasters to make sure all the urgent clearances are done in time each day but please bear with us during this period.

Watch this space for more info about what exciting changes are taking place and remember to keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for updates, especially as there is a very small chance these dates could change.

Clearcast goes back to school

16th March 2017

Our UK & International Training Manager Michael Haydon is used to training groups of people right across the advertising industry, from advertisers, agencies and broadcasters. He delivers regular training sessions here at Clearcast HQ (and beyond) to show them how to make sure their ad clearance experience is as smooth as possible.


But on 15th March, Michael went back to school to give a 60 minute interactive talk to the year 12 and  year 13 sixth form students at Haverstock School, who we also partner with to offer internships.


The session at Haverstock gave the students an insight into the UK ad industry, the work we do and how our work differs to other countries. He of course gave lots of useful examples and got the group going on an interactive quiz using our audience remotes.


The training session was really well received, and the students had plenty of questions for Michael, as you’d expect from young enquiring minds!


See more about our commitment to the community here.


The Clearcast Newsletter Spring 2017

14th March 2017

Twice a year the team at Clearcast put together a newsletter chock-full of great articles.  As ever, this issue features a mixture of handy copy advice, important regulatory updates and behind the scenes shenanigans. Whether you’re new to Clearcast and wondering what’s shaking, or a seasoned pro looking to stay on top of your game there’ll be something in there for you. Download it now by clicking the link below, or read on for more info.


Clearcast Newsletter Spring 2017

Articles include:

Clearcast and programmatic advertising

We’re being approached more and more by digital operators and here we tell you how we’re developing in this area.

European advertising self-regulation

We invite Lucas Boudet, the DG of EASA, to share his thoughts on how self-regulation will change in the rapidly changing European environment.


We’ve listened to users and rolled out new functionality to make life easier.

How did we perform in 2016?

We achieved a step change in the delivery of our service levels last year. And 9/10 of the most complained about ads of 2016 were tv ads but none had upheld rulings by the ASA.

New to TV advertising?

Seven things you need to know if you’re new to tv or haven’t worked with us for a while.

Ladies’ Day at Southend with the Whitechapel Mission

Clearcast for Better is the name of our CSR programme. Read about our latest venture.

Dear Jackie

What to watch out for in your weight loss campaigns.


And many more!


Download the newsletter now!

Research Scripts – Introducing Our New Dedicated Service

08th March 2017


Clearcast is always looking for ways to serve the industry better by developing useful new services and improving our processes. We’re now introducing a research script service, very similar to our popular pitch scripts offering, which achieves both of these aims.


Agencies will benefit from this dedicated service when they are planning to put multiple scripts into research but before doing so they want to seek our advice on whether these scripts are compliant.


In the past, some agencies may have sought advice from their regular contact at Clearcast for these scripts. However, our priority is to focus on scripts that are going to air, and in doing so make the process as efficient as possible for all agencies. When research scripts have been submitted, they have often been in significant numbers, taking focus away from submissions which already have airtime booked. Introducing the research scripts service will help us make sure that scripts for production are not subject to delay, whilst still providing a mechanism for agencies to ensure that ideas discussed with clients are likely to be able to get on air.


Research scripts that are discussed with the client during the creative development stage can be submitted on CopyCentral from 1 May by clicking on the ‘Pitch/Research script’ button. You will be charged £100+VAT per script, with the first script for that research project free of charge.


Our figures show that only around 1% of all scripts sent to us fall into the category of research scripts. It should therefore not be a significant change for most agencies but, given they arrive in batches, will help us manage our workload more efficiently to the benefit of the industry as a whole.


The research scripts service is managed by our Copy Development team, who will liaise with your regular Clearcast contact to ensure their knowledge of the account is utilised.


Any questions? Please feel free to contact our Copy Development Manager, Seb Lynch, on or 020 7339 4771.