Sainsbury’s has come under fire from consumers and rivals alike for its Brand Match advert, which claims in print and online promotions that consumers “won’t pay more for brands than you would at Tesco or Asda.”
Tesco were quick to complain that Sainsbury's assertion that shoppers would not pay more for brands than at Asda or Tesco was misleading, because in some instances they would have paid less for the branded goods at those stores.
Tesco also complained that the adverts did not make it clear that the offer applied only to comparable brands, saying that each retailer stocked exclusive branded products that were not available elsewhere.
Members of the public criticised the restrictions on the coupons, which included a minimum spend of £20 and that one item must be identical in size and flavour to that of the rival store.
Consumers suggested Sainsbury’s did not make it clear that any saving was calculated across all of the brands in an individual's basket and that the price of those brands that were cheaper at Sainsbury's would be offset against the total branded shop.
The claim "Save at Sainsbury's with Brand Match" was also found misleading because prices were matched rather than bettered.
The ASA found that the advertising did not make it clear that any saving would not be passed on to consumers at the time of their shop.
In addition it deemed the phrase "live well for less" misleading in the context of Brand Match advertising because it implied branded goods would be cheaper at Sainsbury's, and therefore that consumers would not pay more.
The ASA told Sainsbury's that the adverts must not appear again in their current form and that it must “ensure future ads did not imply consumers would not pay more, or would save money, if that was not the case."