Wonga bashes Archbishop with 'Ten Commitments' ad

Wonga has launched a rapid response ad campaign days after the Archbishop of Canterbury said he vowed to “compete it out of existence”.

Wonga 10 Commitments ad

The ads (see below in full), which have appeared in national press this morning (26 July) and are due to appear in digital and digital out of home over the weekend, aim to dispel some people’s interpretations of the Archbishop’s comments, who may have believed they meant the lender was an “unacceptable business”.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, told Total Politics magazine last week he had said to Wonga chief executive Errol Damelin with reference to the Church of England’s burgeoning credit union movement: “We’re not in the business of trying to legislate you out of existence, we’re trying to compete you out of existence”.

Welby was left red-faced, however, when it later emerged the Church of England’s pension fund had been an early investor in Wonga when it was first looking to launch in the UK.

Wonga’s “Ten Commitments” campaign was planned and bought by media agency PHD. The commitments include: “We always help customers in financial difficulty”, “We don’t charge you thousands of per cent interest. Ever” and “We will continue to innovate to create new products”.

A post on the Open Wonga blog says: “Our Ten Commitments make clear the principles the business is built upon, so you can make your own mind up on the type of organisation we are and the type of people who use us”.

In its most recent bid to prove it is a responsible lender, Wonga launched an ad campaign in June to promote its “no hidden charges” offer. 

Wonga is also understood to be sponsoring a Channel 5 “action” programme Go Hard or Go Home, which will air from this Autumn. It is also the shirt sponsor for Newcastle United Football Club.

Wonga 10 Commitments ad

Readers' comments (5)

  • Just make sure you read the small print.

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  • Million plus customers. Someone's making a mint out of them. Still smacks to me of people making money from those who can least afford it. I dont like being 1 step in fornt of loan sharks is anything to be proud off. Fairplay to Justin Welby for starting the debate. Otherwise Wonga would have just gone on giving (and taking) with most peole none the wiser.

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  • I don't like such companies, and have turned down interviews for such companies before.

    But the more affluent amongst us can't deny that this market is there. Whether it's pawnbrokers, cash converters, cheque cashing etc. turning our nose up doesn't make it go away.

    It's probably best that people have a visible, highly regulated company such as Wonga doing it. I'd also probably choose Wonga over the church, as at least Wonga doesn't try to regulate how you lead your life.

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  • Wonga's own home page example shows that the representative APR on a typical loan is 5853%. This breaks its own commitment number 4. Reclassifying repayments costs as fees to make the "interest rate" look lower misleads consumers and is dishonest.

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  • @John Buckland

    Hi John. We actually charge 1% interest per day for loans of a few days or weeks. All interest and fees are clearly shown before applying for a loan and nobody ever pays 000s % interest. We are obliged to display APR by law, but it is an annual measure that compounds interest. When it comes to very short loans like ours, the figure – thousands of per cent in our case - bears no relation to the actual interest or cost involved.

    We believe that showing the total cost of repayment before you apply for a loan is a far more useful and transparent figure for consumers.

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