ASA condemns Littlewoods ads

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has condemned retailer Littlewoods for sending out a mailer encouraging young women to get into debt.

The mailer, which portrayed a young woman living a glamorous lifestyle on credit, was sent out by Littlewoods-owned Shop Direct Financial Services to more than 75,000 Additions Direct customers.

The ASA decided that Additions Direct’s Direct Plus mailer was irresponsible because it was designed to appeal particularly to young women and was likely to be seen as encouraging care-free, impulsive spending on credit.

The mailing features phrases such as “Hot dates won’t last ’til payday” and “No cash required”.

It also featured a series of cartoon scenes of a young woman with accompanying captions. One scene showed the woman and a man at home watching TV with the caption “Back at the flat… 40” LCD TV nice one! How does she do it?”Shop Direct Financial Services, which owns Additions Direct, says the animated story format was intended to target customers in a “fun” and “informative” way and points out that it did contain details of the interest rate.

v The ASA has also ruled against a television ad for Malaysia Palm Oil claiming to be sustainably produced, following complaints against the ad shown on BBC World last summer.

Pressure group Friends of the Earth was among those that complained about the ad, calling the campaign a “complete lie”.

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