WONGA
LIPSTICK ON A
GORILLA?

"Short-term lender Wonga has swapped its controversial puppets for "hard-working dinner ladies and mums" as it bids to reinvent itself with new adverts" BBC 18/5/15.

The most worrying aspect of the above statement (which admittedly is from the BBC, not the company – but is no doubt informed by PR) is that the much maligned Wonga is seeking to challenge its perception through communication. Look we've changed it says! We're responsible and compliant now, we're not like we used to be!

The fact is that the regulator caught up with Wonga and the other pay day lenders, and forced them into greater transparency, more responsible lending criteria and capped rates (a much more manageable 1,500 % APR!). Any brand that truly seeks to reinvent itself will focus on doing things differently, not just saying so – that much is obvious. Leading the re-invention through advertising smacks of a cosmetic re-skin of the brand, rather than root and branch change.

The recent hiatus created an opportunity for the brand to take a significant leap and to reinvent the category – to be proactive not just reactive. That means doing more that just fixing some basics. It will be interesting to see how successful the ongoing re-brand will ultimately be. But if you really want to reinvent yourself, show people don't just tell them.

Dan B, CEO