Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has had its knuckles rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority after broadcasting a television advert which contained ‘misleading’ claims about its Brand Match price promise.
Devised by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO the campaign compared Sainsbury’s to retail rivals Tesco and Asda, claiming that a coupon for any price differential between the stores would be proffered to any short-changed Sainsbury’s customer who spent £20 or more.
A voiceover introduction explained this concept, stating: ‘Deals. Everywhere aren't they? But wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to go everywhere to get them? That's why Sainsbury's Brand Match matches comparable branded deals at Tesco and Asda.’
Two viewers challenged whether this claim was misleading however, pointing out that the savings weren’t divvied out automatically but were reliant on shoppers trekking round different stores themselves and tracking down cheaper deals.
In its adjudication the ASA stated: “The overall message of the ad was that you did not need to shop around to benefit from all of the deals on branded goods at Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda. We understood that the amount of any voucher for the price difference would be reduced if any of the purchased branded items on offer at Sainsbury's were more expensive at Tesco or Asda, and that in order to achieve the cheapest overall price in these circumstances it would be necessary to shop in different supermarkets.
“The ad, and in particular the statement "tot up the prices of brands in your basket", indicated that the Brand Match compared the total cost of the branded basket of goods and a voucher was then given if the basket could have been bought cheaper elsewhere. However, we did not consider that consumer's would understand from this that in some circumstances it was still necessary to shop around to achieve the cheapest price, and considered that this contradicted the overall message of the ad.
“We considered that the ad, and in particular the claims "those deals you love, just now in one place" and "But wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to go everywhere to get them?", misleadingly implied consumers did not need to shop around to obtain the full savings from deals, when in fact that was not the case. We therefore concluded the ad was misleading.”
The ad has been banned from broadcast in its present form.