Internet bank Egg has been criticised for an advert apparently encouraging people to get into debt and fake illness to skip work.
Internet bank Egg says sorry for 'quirky and edgy' e-mail advert
Egg sent an e-mail newsletter to customers in early January.
The missive suggested calling in sick or a shopping trip as remedies for the post-Christmas blues.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled the note was irresponsible since it encouraged debt and promoted absenteeism from work.
The ASA said it noted the newsletter was intended to be humorous but asked the bank not to repeat the approach in further communications with its customers.
'Edgy and quirky'
The bank apologised for what it called an "edgy and quirky" e-mail, saying the tone of the newsletter was a hallmark of its informal style with its young, upwardly mobile customers.
Egg said they had only sent it once and did not intend to use it again. They also apologised for any offence it may have caused.
The newsletter started: "Suffering from SAD (skint and depressed)?"
It went on: "New Year's Day's come and gone. Resolutions made at 11.50pm were broken at 12.01am and your bank account looks like Nick Leeson's been at it" - a reference to the futures trader whose massive losses caused the 1995 collapse of Barings Bank.
It continued. "Find a bargain night out, a pampering fixer-upper or just say 'to hell with it' and stick it on the card.
"Can't face the thought of work? Then throw a sickie and bed down for the day, where all you need to think about is how to pamper yourself
An Egg spokesperson said: "At no stage did we believe customers would be influenced by the obvious exaggerations contained within the copy."