Adwatch: Picture Loans - 'Busy family'

Instant-loan ads have moved on since the talking-head days of Carol Vorderman and the Ocean Finance families' tragic testimonials. Now narrative has entered the genre with the latest offering from Picture's direct-loan service.

We open on a slightly deranged but average-looking bloke in a decidedly un-average kitchen (big enough to fit a film crew in), talking on the phone to 'Mike', his new best mate from Picture, about the weather while juggling a football on his head (as you do). He is being filmed by his missus on a camcorder, oh, and the theme music from 80s art show Take Hart is playing in the background. So far, so surreal, as what else do middle-class suburban couples get up to with camcorders in the privacy of their own homes, but film each other taking out substantial loans against their mortgages?

And what a loan this fellow is taking out. It is only £25,000, but he will actually pay back £43,358 over 180 months, That is 'only' £18,000 interest. 'Brilliant!' he exclaims, and camcorder woman gives him the thumb-up.

He must have negotiated his previous deal with Mad Frankie Fraser if he thinks that is 'brilliant!' - no matter, as he still has time to patronise camcorder woman by telling Picture that it's a good thing 'there's no need for paperwork' as it gives her 'one less thing to do'.

Watching TV will also be one less thing for her to do in a few years' time, when the bailiffs kick in the front door and nick the telly when he can't keep up with repayments. I guess the premise of this commercial is to show how simple it is to take out a loan with Picture, and on that level it certainly succeeds. If this sexist idiot can manage it, anyone can.

What paints a far more worrying picture is that the Citizens Advice Bureau has reported a 15% rise in debt problems over the past year. That is 5650 cases a day. Of the 13m people who consolidated their debt with loans, 8.5m continued to borrow and get into further debt through other finance deals ... hardly 'brilliant!' by anyone's standards.

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