An advertisement for payday loans featuring reality TV star Kerry Katona, a former bankrupt, has been banned by the industry watchdog, partly for suggesting the money could help to fund a celebrity lifestyle.
Ms Katona, who promoted frozen food retailer Iceland after winning "I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here”, talked about her former “money troubles” in the TV ad. She was declared bankrupt in 2008 after failing to pay a tax bill.
The ad for PDB UK, trading as Cash Lady, drew 29 complaints that it was irresponsible because it focused on Ms Katona's financial problems and encouraged people in similar situations to borrow money.
The ad featured Katona saying: "We've all had money troubles at some point, I know I have. You could see your bank and fill in loads of forms, but is there an easier way to get a loan ... So if you need extra cash go to cashlady.co.uk. Fast cash for fast lives."
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) also challenged whether the advert was misleading and irresponsible because it promoted itself as an alternative to banks while offering an APR in excess of 2,000pc.
Cash Lady said Ms Katona was selected for the ad because she had experienced money troubles in the past and their customers would be able to relate to her.
[Related feature: Kerry Katona: 'I was glad I got made bankrupt']
It said its loans were limited to £300 and were aimed at those experiencing relatively low-level short-term financial difficulties.
The ASA also found that the rate of interest was not more prominent than the other information which triggered its requirement in the ad, therefore breaching the industry code.
It ruled: “The ad should not appear in its current form. We told Cash Lady to take care with the overall presentation of information of its loans.”
A spokesman for Cash Lady said they were "surprised and disappointed" by the ruling but accepted the ASA's decision.
The spokesman said: "We recommend that payday loans should only be used for emergencies or unexpected expenses, and we will make that point much more clearly in future adverts."
The payday loan industry is currently being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading.
[Related feature: 12 weeks to change or payday lenders will be closed down]
Following a review into the sector, three payday lenders have had their licences revoked and two have surrendered their licence.
Fifty payday lenders inspected during the OFT review have until May 28 to adequately prove they have changed their trading practices or risk losing their licence.
Ms Katona featured in Telegraph Money's Fame & Fortune series in January, saying she was reformed from her days of profligate spending.
She said: "In a way I was glad I got made bankrupt because it got my mum off my back."
"Today I watch what I spend and I don't really spend anything on me. If I told you what was in my bank account considering who I was you'd be shocked. I've got just under four grand."
The former Atomic Kitten singer said she only uses a cash card and no longer has a credit card. "When you get made bankrupt they take everything off you. It's all gone. They took both houses, my cars. They came in the house and they tried to take the telly and the toys but we got all that stopped.
"I'm just earning and paying and living. It's day to day, and that's how it's got to be in this industry."
Related feature: Six dangerous ways to borrow]