Picture Financial Services (Picture) has made its way into British popular culture with a TV advert in which a woman arranges a £25,000 loan over the phone in between interruptions from family members. The advert has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, appeared on TV’s Worst Adverts blog, inspired numerous YouTube spoofs and led to the formation of a group on Facebook (Hate the Picture Loan advert with the stupid Geordie woman!)
The TV ad, developed at Watson Phillips Norman, shows Tess in her kitchen consolidating debts over the phone. She cheerfully explains to a telephone operator that yes they do have a mortgage before yelling through the window to her son, Josh, to look for his scooter in the garage. A voice-over states “You could rearrange your credit into one, easily affordable loan so you can keep track of your money”. The man of the house attempts to ask Tess about the whereabouts of… but is stopped with the explanation, “I’m on the phone to Picture”. Tess reassures the Picture operator, “Don’t worry its always like this here. But at least I can get my credit sorted. We’d like to borrow £25,000″. From the bedroom the daughter yells, “Mum, I can’t find my trainers”. Tess replies “They’re under the bed” then said to the phone “how much would that be? Really? That’s a lot less than we’re paying now. And what do I need to do? … So that’s all there is to it? Great”. From the garage comes the crash of Dad finding Josh’s scooter.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube
On-screen text states “Loans secured on your home … subject to status … Borrow £10,000 to £100,000 … Approved in principle over the phone”. A freephone number is displayed on-screen throughout the ad.
The ASA Adjudication, released on October 10, noted the ad included several warning statements about the nature of the service and also highlighted the typical APR, the monthly repayment amounts, the length of repayments and the total amount repayable on a £25,000 loan. ASA noted Picture had intended to depict the ease with which borrowing requirements could be discussed over the phone with them, even during the course of a busy day. Consolidating unsecured loans into one loan, particularly one secured on a home, was a serious step that needed careful consideration. ASA said that the light hearted tone of the ad, including the interruptions from family members, suggested that the decision to take out the loan had not been carefully considered and that it was an everyday occurrence. ASA concluded that the ad was likely to mislead and ordered Picture Financial Services not to show the ad again in its current form.
“Is that thunder your end?”
Another ad in the campaign has a home video featuring a Mike chatting about the thunder and football before launching into his on-the-phone debt consolidation.