The Advertising Standards Authority upheld three complaints that on-screen text qualifying the marketing claim was not presented clearly enough. The ASA has advised Sainsbury’s to ensure future qualifications are readable so that ads do not mislead consumers.
The Live Well for Less message is a central tenet of Sainsbury’s marketing strategy which, along with its Brand Match service, is aimed at changing customer perceptions that it is more expensive than its competitors. It has already had two ads for Brand Match banned, both for misleading customers over price comparisons with rivals.
Viewers challenged the ads over the legibility of on-screen text which appeared at the foot of the ad and read “You can Live Well for Less than you thought at Sainsbury’s. Based on price perception data August 2013” before directing people to its website for further information.
In defence, Sainsbury’s said the on-screen text adhered to industry standards, as did the amount of time the text appeared on the screen. It also said the font used was simple and appeared in white on a black background to make it “even more legible” and that the text was a one off and would not be repeated.
However, the ASA ruled that the letters were narrow and the text condensed, meaning people wouldn’t be able to read the message without seeing it on more than one occasion.
Sainsbury’s is currently embroiled in an argument with Tesco over the veracity of its price comparison service. Sainsbury’s originally complained to the ASA that Tesco’s “Price Promise” scheme is not a “fair deal” and won the right to a judicial review after the ad regulator rejected its complaint.
It has since run an ad campaign highlighting the “values” of its Brand Match scheme.