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Call for Afterpay Rebel Wilson advertisement to be discontinued

Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) is calling for a buy now pay later video advertisement which features actor Rebel Wilson to be pulled.

One scene depicts Ms Wilson sitting at a table speaking to a small child, saying “if credit cards and cash had a baby you could pay it over time without ever paying interest”.

“This ad is a step too far,” said Fiona Guthrie, the CEO of FCA.

“It minimises the risks of using buy now pay later products and the fact she is talking to a young child, explaining a credit product, is very disturbing,” Ms Guthrie said.

Financial counsellors are seeing an increasing number of people with buy now pay later debt. People think they’re harmless, but the reality is they are a form of credit and should be treated that way.

“That’s why we are writing to Ad Standards, the body overseeing the advertising industry’s self regulatory codes, to make a complaint about the ad. We want it discontinued as soon as possible,” Ms Guthrie said.

This ad is one of several celebrity focused campaigns currently used by various buy now pay later providers.

“Why these celebrities want to associate themselves with a product that can cause such harm is beyond us,” Ms Guthrie said.

“ASIC’s 2020 report found that 1 in 5 people are missing payments. It also found that as a result some people are cutting back, or going without essentials, such as food.”

“These slick and expensive campaigns only serve to lull consumers into using buy now pay later more. There is a high risk of getting into debt, especially if you are using the product multiple times or have more than one account.”

A recent NAB Consumer Insight Report found:

  • Nearly one in five Australians have buy now pay later debt.
  • 26% of 18 – 29-year-olds have buy now pay later debt.
  • A third of Australians have two accounts, 12% hold three accounts and one in twenty in have four or more accounts.

“It’s time for these products to be subject to the same laws as other forms of credit. They need to be regulated under the National Credit Act,” said Ms Guthrie.

Click here to view FCA’s complaint to Ad Standards about the Afterpay advertisement.

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