Sainsburys censured by the ASA for "misleading" consumers

Sainsbury's censured by the ASA for "misleading" consumers

The UK's advertising watchdog has banned an ad used by Sainsbury's to plug its Brand Match price comparison scheme for "misleading consumers".

The Advertising Standards Authority ruled the advert implied consumers did not need to shop around to benefit from the full savings from deals, which, the watchdog said, "was not the case".

If a shopper spends GBP20 (US$32), Brand Match compares the prices of brands at Sainsbury's, with those at Tesco and Asda. Sainsbury's gives the shopper a money-off voucher for the difference if they could have paid less at its two rivals.

The voice-over for the ad stated: "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. So spend £20 or more and we'll tot up the prices of brands in your basket and if you could have paid less at Tesco or Asda, even because of a deal, we'll give you a coupon for the difference. Which means you still get those deals you love, just now in one place."

Sainsbury's insisted the ad, which also contained on-screen text, included the information needed to make the offer clear. Clearcast, which pre-approves TV ads in the UK, agreed.

However, the ASA viewed the spot differently and ruled Sainsbury's must not broadcast the ad again in its current form.

In response to the ASA's ruling, Sainsbury's said: "We are disappointed with the ASA's ruling since we don’t feel their approach accurately reflects the way that customers shop in the real world. We are confident that the millions of customers who benefit from the scheme each month fully understand how Brand Match works. However, we have changed the wording of our advertising to reflect the adjudication."