Money. Boy, it can be a bugger sometimes can’t it? There’s never enough to go around. There’s never enough to cover all the bills and still buy that new luxury car, family holiday and all the technological products that you desperately need to make your life fulfilling. Never mind. In years past people would have worked to afford their products or possibly gone without, having realised the sliding scale of income and outgoings have to at least partially balance.
Not any more though. Now you can have all the trappings of a materialistic lifestyle within days, with one easily arranged loan from any number of highly dubious, unregulated money shops. There’s Freedom Finance, Norton Finance, Intelligent Finance, Clearway Finance, Lombard Direct, Marble Loans, Loans.co.uk… there are now so many adverts for these fuckers on daytime television and across the board on cable that they’ve practically become a programming genre of their own.
The adverts are a mixed bunch. Some target those who’ve had bad luck in the past by using heavy-handed yet desperately amateur, metaphorical imagery (it’s raining on those in debt but the sun shines for those with a loan) while others bombard your senses with clip-art representations of desired material possessions. What binds them all though is that they are run by unscrupulous thick-necked bastards operating a bizarrely legal scam out of a shitty one-roomed office somewhere in a forgotten B-town in England. They’re not about helping you consolidate your debts, they’re about trying to get their mitts on your house when your financial guard is down.
Top of the pile for me is Picture Loans with an advert that simultaneously demonstrates the flippant and highly irresponsible approach they have to money management whilst treating their audience / potential customers like idiots. If we are to believe their advertising, they want people to make highly uninformed financial decisions on a whim, to willingly offer up their homes as collateral to afford a holiday and bind themselves to 25 year contracts with a company who think having ‘no paperwork’ for such a monumental decision is a virtue.
Just look at the advert above, or the second example that is at the end of this article, to see their dangerously casual approach to money. On both occasions the loan amount is decided in the moment, as if they were choosing the colour of new bathmat and the couples are so excited by the prospect of being given more money that they fail to realise they’re going to be paying back near double what they’ve borrowed.
“Yes” they all say “we’ve got a mortgage… and how much will that be a month?”
The casual indifference with which home ownership is presented is truly terrifying. It’s not a home, nor an investment, nor a nest-egg for your children – it’s a simple tradeable asset that you can cash in when your Ford Mondeo becomes more more than three years old. The couple in the advert below are actually filming themselves on a camcorder as they gleefully sign away the children’s inheritance, as if in years to come they can proudly pull out the projector and show the whole family exactly when they fucked up their futures.
The reason why these adverts are so wrong is simple; their key audience is the gullible, the stupid and the financially disastrous but they can’t put them on the telly as they’re unappealing. Instead they transpose the characteristics of the common moron onto the middle class, as if to say “hey, look, they’re just like you – or just like you want to be. If people with a nice house and abundant family can treat £25,000 as if it’s nothing then you can too.”
Picture Loans, and all those companies like them, are bastards. Quite how they can legally co-exist alongside the countless news reports and articles about the rising debt problem in this country is beyond me. They’re the equivalent of the dodgy man talking his way into your Grandma’s house before conning her out of her valuables… they target the desperate, the weak and the stupid and they do it under a pretence of wanting to help.
Then again, there’s always the argument that if you believe this shit in the first place you probably deserve everything that comes to you…