Advertising Standards Authority Bans Tesco Price Match Ad
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a Tesco price-matching guarantee ad, labelling it misleading after it received a complaint from Sainbury’s Supermarket Ltd.
The press ad, which was published in October of last year was headlined, 'Never pay more for your branded shop.'
The text below the headline stated, 'If it’s cheaper at Asda, Morrisons or Sainsbury’s, we’ll take the money off your bill at the till.'
Also on the ad was small print saying 'Min. basket of 10 different products, including 1 comparable branded product. Total price of branded grocery shop compared with Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s and if cheaper elsewhere the difference will be taken off your bill …'.
Sainsbury’s made the claim that the ad did not make the minimum purchase restriction sufficiently clear, and questioned whether the claim 'Never pay more for your branded shop' was misleading.
Tesco’s response stated that it believed the ad communicated the scheme, and its restrictions, clearly to consumers, and that it was in line with the industry’s approach to price match advertising.
Its position was that consumers generally understand how price match schemes work, and that a minimum spend requirement usually applies. It also said that the ad made it clear that a ‘branded shop’ was made up of multiple products.
Tesco also said that the minimum purchase requirement was the first thing set out in the conditions listed on the ad.
However, the ASA decided that while consumers are likely to be familiar with price match schemes, they are not necessarily aware of the conditions involved.
It cited research data by the CMA, which was included in its July 2015 report on Pricing Practices in the Groceries Market, indicating that of shoppers who understood that their ‘planned shop’ supermarket had a price matching scheme, 25 per cent reported that they had no idea how it worked and a further 40 per cent had only a rough idea.
It said, "We agreed with the CMA’s statement about the importance of retailers communicating clearly with consumers to help them understand how schemes operated and enable them to take informed decisions."
In its ruling, it also acknowledged that Tesco had consulted the Copy Advice Team, which said that it was likely to be acceptable put the minimum purchase requirement in small print.
However, the ASA ultimately ruled, "While the small print said it was necessary to purchase at least ten different items, including one comparable branded product, for the Brand Guarantee to apply, we considered that contradicted the headline claim and was not sufficiently prominent to counteract the misleading impression created by it. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading."
© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Jenny Whelan. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.