Sainsbury’s Brand Match rapped by ASA

Sainsbury’s marketing strategy has been dealt a blow after the advertising watchdog ruled that a number of its Brand Match ads made misleading claims over price comparisons with rivals.

Brand Match ads rapped by ASA

The ASA upheld, or partially upheld, a number of complaints lodged against Sainsbury’s TV, online, print, in-store, radio and direct advertising, by Tesco and members of the public, including:

  • That it was misleading to suggest that customers would not pay more for brands at Sainsbury’s when the coupon customers received would in some instances confirm that the branded goods would have been cheaper at Asda or Tesco.
  • They did not make clear that savings were calculated across all the brands in a shopper’s basket.
  • They misleadingly implied that brand match applied to all branded purchases, not just if shoppers spent more than £20.
  • They misleading use of the word ‘save’ when Brand Match promises to match, not better, rivals’ prices.

The ASA has advised Sainsbury’s to ensure that future ads do not imply consumers would not pay more or would save money if that is not the case, and, to ensure that all “significant conditions” of promotions are made clear in ads.

Sainsbury’s marketing strategy focuses on Brand Match, its Live Well for Less positioning and efforts to change perceptions that it is more expensive that its competitors.

In response to the ruling, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson says: “[We are] committed to providing advertising that our customers can easily understand. We do not believe that our customers have been misled but we have already changed our current advertising to reflect the concerns raised.

“Our customers love Brand Match because it is the most straightforward price matching guarantee in the market. Tens of millions of people have used the vouchers, saving millions of pounds.”

The ASA investigated six separate issues in total. Two, including that Sainsbury’s ads did not make it clear that Brand Match only applied to comparable products and those that appeared on Sainsbury’s website, were dismissed.

It is not the first time that Sainsbury’s Brand Match has been rapped by the ASA. In May, an ad was banned after a complaint from Asda that it was not clear which Sainsbury’s stores participated in the promotion.

An ad for Sainsbury’s Feed your Family for £50 promotion was also ruled to be misleading earlier after handful of complaints that it did not provide the full recommended calorie intake for a family of four.

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