ITC bans Sun-Tesco ads offering ‘free’ shopping

The Sun has been forced to ditch an ad campaign promoting its tie-up with Tesco’s Clubcard after watchdogs found the TV executions had misled viewers.

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) has upheld complaints by two viewers about the ads, which were created by TBWA GGT Simons Palmer. The Sun’s ads claimed: “Free Tesco Clubcard points… in The Sun”, “Free shopping when you buy The Sun” and “Buy The Sun and get free Tesco Clubcard points”.

The viewers complained that the ads failed to mention that it was necessary to buy five editions of The Sun and a copy of the News of the World to qualify for the free Clubcard points.

The Sun refused to provide more information about the mechanics of the promotion, which the ITC requested. Where advertisers do not provide such information, the ITC is legally obliged to judge the ads misleading.

The watchdog told the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC), the body which vets ads before they are broadcast, that no Sun-Tesco Clubcard ads should be aired until “it was satisfied that they adequately reflected the mechanics of the promotion”.

Nobody from the BACC or The Sun was available for comment.

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