Wonga ad agency cuts ties over lender's bad behavior

Lynsey Barber
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Wonga's puppetmaster has cut ties with the lender (Source: Getty)

The advertising agency which created the well known Wonga TV ad campaign featuring puppets of pensioners has said it will no longer work with the controversial payday lender.

London ad agency Albion said it does not agree with some of Wonga’s practices which it had become aware of during its time working with the company.

"We created some memorable work in that time across the Wonga brand, product and communications that took them from a disruptive start-up to the mainstream,” an Albion spokesperson said.

"However, there have been certain practices that we now know went on before we worked with the business and then during the tenure of our relationship that we were unaware of and that we categorically do not agree with.”

Albion has worked with the lender since 2011 but has pulled itself out of the running in Wonga’s search for a new advertising agency to work with.

“We’ve decided it’s the right time to now cut ties and therefore not repitch for the business, but we wish Wonga well in the next stage of their journey,” the agency said.

The short term loan company has faced a crackdown from regulators over its high interest rates and unscrupulous practices and has been forced to tighten up its lending criteria, cap interest rates and write off some of its loans under new rules.

Its revolving door of chief executives left chairman Andy Haste in charge in July last year. His first move was to get rid of the puppets, which he said could attract children. It has also ended its sponsorship of Blackpool football team in recent months amid a wider review of its marketing strategy which could include a name change. It could also end its sponsorship of Newcastle United.

The company is battling to repair a tattered reputation which has gone from startup darling to being dubbed “Wronga” for practices which included sending fake legal letters to customers.

Wonga told industry magazine Campaign: "As part of the significant changes we’re making at Wonga, we’ve started the search for a new creative agency. We’re committed to building a responsible, sustainable business and to communicating with the right customers in the right way."

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