Wonga rolls out new dinner lady advert campaign

Payday lender Wonga is launching a new advertising campaign featuring “hard-working dinner ladies and mums” after ditching its controversial puppet ads.

Wonga: New ad launch. Picture: PA

The TV campaign will avoid broadcasting during programmes that are heavily viewed by children after a review announced last year when Wonga suspended advertising.

Last month the firm revealed that it had slumped to a pre-tax annual loss of £37.3 million for 2014 as it shrinks its business amid an attempt to clean up its tarnished reputation.

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The payday loan industry has drawn public criticism from various quarters, including MPs and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Wonga’s new ads feature characters including a dinner lady, farmer, security guard, groundsman, HGV driver and housewife – selling loans with a representative 1,509 per cent annual percentage rate.

The lender is also tweaking its products, in a way which it says goes beyond regulatory requirements. Chief executive Tara Kneafsey said: “Our new product features and today’s marketing relaunch are further proof of the action we’ve taken, and continue to take, to ensure Wonga is lending responsibly and putting customer outcomes first.”

Last June, Wonga was ordered to pay compensation of £2.6m by the Financial Conduct Authority after sending fake legal letters to 45,000 customers. Chairman Andy Haste, appointed last summer, has promised to clean up the firm and admitted it had made “serious mistakes”.