A Brand Guarantee advertisement from the biggest UK supermarket Tesco was banned after it was found ‘misleading’ by the watchdog Advertising Standards Authority. The advertisement was under scrutiny after rival supermarket Sainsbury’s lodged a complaint against it. In the complaint to Advertising Standards Authority, Sainsbury’s claimed that the grocer did not make the 10-item minimum purchase required to qualify for discounts clear enough in its advertising.
In Tesco’s initial advertising for the scheme, it was stated that customers would “never pay more for your branded shop”. Small print in the advert read “Min. basket of 10 different products, including one comparable branded product. Total price of branded grocery shop compared with Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s and if cheaper elsewhere the difference will be taken off your bill.”
Sainsbury’s argued that the supermarket failed to make it clear about the 10 item minimum purchase regulation. Customers shopping in Tesco are required to purchase a minimum of 10 items which should include one comparable branded product to qualify for a money back at the billing counter. If their branded goods are cheaper than the one available at any of the other large supermarkets, namely Sainsbury’s, Asda or Morrisons they would get the money back. The programme was introduced in October as Chief Exec Dave Lewis’s answer to the Price Promise it previously offered.
Tesco said that they had sought advice from the CAP Copy Advice team before publishing the advert. As per their advise the minimum purchase requirement within the advert’s small print was “likely to be acceptable.” However, the ASA said that, while consumers were “likely to be familiar with the concept of price-match schemes”, they “would not necessarily be aware of the conditions involved, or that there might be a minimum purchase requirement” to qualify for Brand Guarantee. In response a Tesco spokesman said: “We are pleased Brand Guarantee has proven so popular since its launch. We’ve listened to customer feedback and have already changed the layout of our adverts where necessary. There won’t be any changes to Brand Guarantee as a result of this decision.”