An advertisement for the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) service Afterpay starring Aussie actor Rebel Wilson should be banned, financial welfare advocates have said, describing the spot as a “step too far”.
The ad, which was created by Afterpay’s in-house creative team, debuted in early June and features Wilson’s comic take on the BNPL service.
In the 30-second spot, Wilson’s character describes Afterpay to a young child as if “credit cards and cash had a baby you could pay it over time without ever paying interest”.
You can check out B&T’s original reporting here and watch the spot below:
However, the ad’s fallen foul of advocacy group Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) who’ve called for it to be banned as it promotes irresponsible lending, particularly to vulnerable people.
FCA CEO Fiona Guthrie calling the spot “disturbing” and “irresponsible”.
“The fact she (Wilson) is talking to a young child, explaining a credit product, is very disturbing,” Guthrie said.
“Why these celebrities want to associate themselves with a product that can cause such harm is beyond us.
“That’s why we are writing to Ad Standards, the body overseeing the advertising industry’s self regulatory codes, to make a complaint about [Afterpay’s] ad. We want it discontinued as soon as possible,” Guthrie said.
“These slick and expensive campaigns only serve to lull consumers into using BNPL more. There is a high risk of getting into debt, especially if you are using the product multiple times or have more than one account.
The FCA reported an increasing number of Australians coming to them with a large BNPL debt burden, while its been reported as many as one in five Australian adults have a BNPL debt.
Desite concerns about the ad’s messaging, Ad Standards has said it was unable to take any complaint further as concerns about the spot’s use of kids and discussion of financial products were not covered by its code.
FCA has launched an online petition in a bid to force Afterpay to remove the ad.
In response, Afterpay said the campaign is intended to spread awareness of Afterpay in a “lighthearted and relatable way”.
Afterpay Australia New Zealand communications director Louisa Galligani said the spot’s different scenarios focused on “different storytelling moments” – from in a shop, to at the gym and on the couch.
“The scene that includes a child and parent is a humorous way for Afterpay to demonstrate the simplicity and transparency of our product, especially when compared with much more expensive and risky products such as credit cards,” Galligani said.
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