Sainsbury’s slams ‘unfair’ Tesco marketing campaign

Sainsbury’s top marketer has waded into the debate over Tesco’s Price Promise accusing its rival of making unfair comparisons between own label products, a move that comes as reports claim the ad watchdog is expected to dismiss its complaint Tesco’s advertising of its price match scheme is misleading.  

Tesco Price Promise

In a blog on Sainsbury’s website, commercial director Mike Coupe says Tesco’s at checkout price matching scheme, which unlike Sainsbury’s similar Brand Match scheme compares own brand products where an equivalent is sold by a rival, is not a fair like for like comparison because the quality of its food is better. 

Coupe adds: “In its “Price Promise”, Tesco compares the price of Sainsbury’s basics Ham with Tesco Everyday Value Ham. Well, they’re priced the same but our pork is British and Tesco’s is sourced from somewhere in the EU. They’re not the same product. The idea that they are is really rather odd – not least since Tesco boss Philip Clarke recently told the National Farmers’ Union “customers say they are concerned about the provenance of their meat, and that they want to buy British”.

“Similarly, Tesco argues in its “Price Promise” that it is appropriate to compare the prices of Sainsbury’s basics Tea Bags with Tesco Everyday Value Tea Bags. Again, they’re priced the same, but our teabags are Fairtrade, and Tesco’s are not. This means that for our basics Tea a minimum tea price is guaranteed for farmers at origin and we pay a social premium to support local communities in the established tea growing countries in Africa. Tesco Value Tea does not.”

Coupe also lays into Tesco’s latest adverting campaign, “love every mouthful” an attempt by Tesco to improve perception of the quality of its food offering by highlighting provenance. 

“They [Tesco] have recently begun an attempt at recasting their ethical image and pushing fresh food credentials in a high-profile marketing campaign which encourages us to “love every mouthful”.

The blog comes as Sky News reports the Advertising Standards Authority has dismissed Sainsbury’s complaint Tesco’s advertising of Price Promise is misleading because it does not make like for like comparisons. 

A spokesman for the ASA declined to comment. The ruling will be published Wednesday (31 July).       

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