HOMEcredit for the real world can wongas re brand repair its controversial image
May 21, 2015

Credit for the real world, can Wonga’s re-brand repair its controversial image?

On the back of a troubled couple of years, Wonga has launched a campaign to repair its controversial image and promote the brand as a responsible provider of short-term credit. Senior Graphic Designer at Toolbox Group, Liana Young, takes a closer look at their efforts to reposition their company in the lending marketplace.

Unless you’ve been living in the deepest depths of Timbuktu for the last year, you will have seen the controversial pay day loans company, Wonga, involved in a number of scandals including faking legal letters and accusations of irresponsible lending. They also came under fire for the use of “puppets” in their ad campaigns, which debt campaigners are calling a tactic that made high-cost loans seem fun and normal to young people and children. After Wonga found themselves making headlines last year for all the wrong reasons, the adverts were axed.

In July 2014, Andy Haste was named as Wonga’s new chairman and the former chief executive of RSA promptly set about reviewing the company’s future. The firm announced that the puppets will go as part of a plan to ‘re-present Wonga to the public in a way that accesses the right type of customer and reduces the risk of inadvertently attracting the very young or vulnerable’.

The rebrand has now been launched aiming at a more middle class audience. A dinner lady, a farmer, a dental nurse, a man who paints football pitches. These are some of the people which Wonga portrays as a typical customer in its first advertising campaign. A new strapline “Credit for the real world” has been coined, which plays on the idea of personal responsibility.

The new logo has a softer, more human look and feel with a blue to green colour gradient and places the “w” of Wonga within a speech bubble. Meanwhile the “.com” has been dropped.

The brand is looking to reposition itself as a “responsible and transparent” company “delivering the best outcomes for its customers” it says. The new ad campaign is set to roll out online and across television, radio and print.

Tara Kneafsey, the UK chief executive of Wonga, said: “Our focus is on serving hard-working people throughout the UK who need access to transparent, flexible and short-term credit products.”

Personally, I think the approach to this is casual and light-hearted. It suggests this is no big deal, totally normal, just an everyday loans company for everyday, hardworking people. Yet at a typical representative APR of 1509%, this is far from the case and not a step to be taken lightly.

Interestingly, Albion, who was the incumbent on the account, declined to repitch for Wonga’s advertising account this year after four years as their creative agency. At least one other major agency is also known to have turned down the chance to pitch.

1

Out with the old

2 In with the new

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