Sainsbury’s ads ‘didn’t warn shoppers of Brand Match store restrictions’

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Sainsbury’s has been pulled up by the Advertising Standards Authority for failing to make clear in adverts for Brand Match that the pricing-matching scheme was not available in all of its stores.

Following a complaint by Asda, the advertising watchdog ruled the ads were “unclear and ambiguous”. Text stating ‘Excludes Locals, Centrals and online. Selected stores excluded’ was deemed not sufficiently prominent to warn shoppers about the scheme’s limited availability.

“We considered that consumers would expect Brand Match to be widely available across Sainsbury’s stores and we therefore considered that information regarding non-participating stores warranted inclusion in the ads,” the ASA said in its ruling.

Sainsbury’s was told to make clear in any future ads the limitations on participating stores.

However, four other complaints by Asda about the Brand Match ads were not upheld. Asda argued the strapline ‘the end of shopping around’ was misleading; shoppers could not verify the data; the web address supplied for full terms and conditions did not take consumers directly to them; and the claim ‘prices were checked on the same day’ was misleading. But the ASA ruled in Sainsbury’s favour on each count.

Sainsbury’s boss Justin King recently claimed Brand Match was a decisive factor in the supermarket’s strong set of financial results.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Brand Match is, reportedly, working. So my comments may be a bit lame. But personally, I think Waitrose press ads -- shouting about their promise to match prices of other bigger supermarkets -- carry more clout. If anyone other than me still reads newspapers, that is.
    Also, I only became 'aware' of JS Brand Match when I got the till receipt and all the rest of the litter (promo offers) which I stuff in my (reusable) bag and forget about until it's too late.
    My only 'concern' with Brand Match was whether it covered ALL brands or just a lucky selection of some of the ones I'd bought and were those where JS had decided to invest some marketing effort and could therefore highlight their great price.
    I hope that makes sense?!

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  • In response to GRO54328 comments:

    As part of my job I make a habit of monitoring supermarkets prices and on a number of occasions I've seen Waitrose 'price match' Tesco, however what they fail to say is that in order to match Tesco, they have in fact raised their price.

    Case and point: The price match promotions are a very easy way to say to your competitors "You move your price up and we'll follow".

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  • Matt...you're serious? That brand / price match can involve raising the price? Sad that we're so disposed to trust that words such as 'brand match' (adorned with a few colourful squiggles) and that triggers thoughts of 'saving'. I'm a moron :-(

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  • GRO54328: Waitrose is more than happy to shout about the fact that it's not more expensive than Tesco, but this is utter rubbish as it's quickly followed up by 'excluding promotions'. Anyone who has shopped in Tesco will know most things are on some sort of offer making Brand Price Match as worthless as the cardboard it's printed on.

    Neil: Brand Match at Sainsbury's won't charge you more than you paid before. If your branded shopping would be cheaper at Sainsbury's you're issued with a coupon saying how much you save compared to Tesco/Asda. Previously Sainsbury's did operate 'Price Check' - a scheme similar to Waitrose's that potentially could've lead to prices going up as well as down.

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