Money & Banking
"Disturbing" Rebel Wilson ad slammed by experts
An ad starring Australian starlet Rebel Wilson has been deemed “disturbing” by financial counsellors.
The Afterpay advertisement stars Wilson telling a young girl that “if credit cards and cash had a baby you could pay it over time without ever paying interest”.
Financial Counselling Australia chief executive Fiona Guthrie said the campaign has gone a step too far.
“It minimises the risks of using buy-now, pay-later products and the fact she is talking to a young child, explaining a credit product, is very disturbing,” Ms Guthrie said on Tuesday.
She went on to say financial counsellors are seeing more and more people who use the buy-now, pay-later scheme calling into increasing debt.
“People think they’re harmless, but the reality is they are a form of credit and should be treated that way,” she said.
FCA has written a number of complaints about the Wilson clip to Ad Standards, which manages complaints about advertisements under the industry’s self-regulated system.
“We want it discontinued as soon as possible,” Ms Guthrie said.
She went on to say the AD is one of several that Afterpay is currently running.
“Why these celebrities want to associate themselves with a product that can cause such harm is beyond us,” Ms Guthrie said.
“ASIC’s 2020 report found that one in five people are missing payments. It also found that as a result some people are cutting back, or going without essentials, such as food.”
“These slick and expensive campaigns only serve to lull consumers into using buy-now, pay-later 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.”
In her complaint to Ad Standards, Ms Guthrie said Afterpay wasn’t available for people under 18.
“It would not be acceptable to explain the benefits of personal loans or credit cards to children in an advertisement and it should not be acceptable in this case,” she said.
“The use of children is gratuitous and inappropriate.”
She said the ad also failed to show how buy-now, pay-later products worked.
She also went on to say that anyone who missed an instalment would cop late fees.
“We urge Ad Standards to review this advertisement and ensure it is discontinued from all platforms in Australia as soon as possible,” she said.
Earlier this week, Afterpay and its competitor Zip Co claimed that banks were forcing mortgage applicants to delete their accounts before approving home loans.
In a statement to TND Afterpay defended its advert, saying it was proud to divert Australians away from credit cards.
“Afterpay has strict controls in place to ensure that only consumers who are 18 and over can use our product. We verify the identity of all our customers,” the spokesperson said.