UK: Sainsbury's stands by Brand Match scheme amid ASA ban
The Brand Match ad claims consumers “won’t pay more for brands than you would at Tesco or Asda”
Sainsbury's has said it Brand Match promotion scheme is a "winning formula", despite one of its campaign being labelled "misleading" by the country's advertising watchdog.
The UK retailer was this week told to change its Brand Match campaign after the ASA received 20 complaints, from Tesco and 19 members of the public.
The television, radio, internet and newspaper campaign claims that consumers "won't pay more for brands than you would at Tesco or Asda" and issues vouchers if prices were found to be cheaper at either of its two rivals.
The claimants, however, said the coupon would in some cases confirm that customers would have paid less for branded goods at the two other chains.
Tesco also challenged whether the adverts were "misleading" because they did not make it "sufficiently clear" that the offer applied only to comparable brands. They said each retailer stocked exclusive branded products that were not available elsewhere.
Addressing the decision by the ASA to ban the ads in their current form, Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King told analysts on the firm's earnings call yesterday that they were adverts that had run around one year ago and have since been changed.
"We have long since changed the advertising ... it was of course a complaint from a competitor ... but we have been happy to make changes in line with what [the ASA] has asked us to do. It's a winning formula for our customers and it is a promise across the basket and not on the individual items and things we have been happy to address."
Sainsbury's yesterday (3 October) booked an increase in first-half sales driven by own label growth and the roll out of its convenience stores.
Speaking on the earnings call, King suggested to analysts that its couponing and vouchering activity has been a profitable driver for Sainsbury's.
"Using Nectar data, we are very confident that the activity we are doing is profitable for Sainsbury's. We simply don't recognise the observation that the current level of couponing activity, as far as Sainsbury's is concerned, is unsustainable. Far from it. It's pivotal in our sales success."
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