A TV ad for Sainsbury's Brand Match showed various people shopping, with the screen split three ways to indicate the supermarkets Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda. A voice-over stated, "Deals. Everywhere aren't they? But wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to go everywhere to get them? That's why Sainsbury's Brand Match matches comparable branded deals at Tesco and Asda. So spend £20 or more and we'll tot up the prices of brands in your basket and if you could have paid less at Tesco or Asda, even because of a deal, we'll give you a coupon for the difference. Which means you still get those deals you love, just now in one place."
On-screen text at the bottom of the screen stated "Maximum £10 coupon. Minimum spend £20. Online prices compared. Buy at least one comparable branded product. Deals matched if you buy the same quantity", "Excludes category whole promotions. If the same branded shop could have been bought for less at Asda or Tesco on the same day you will get a coupon for the difference" and "Excludes locals, centrals, online and 13 Sainsbury's Supermarkets. For terms, conditions & all exclusions see sainsburys.co.uk/brandmatch".
Two viewers, who understood that Brand Match compared the total cost of the branded shop and that any coupon for the difference would therefore be reduced if products on offer at Sainsbury's were more expensive at Asda or Tesco, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
J Sainsbury plc t/a Sainsbury's (Sainsbury's) said they believed the ad was clear and was not misleading. They said the opening questions "Deals. Everywhere aren't they? But wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to go everywhere to get them?" were then answered with a full and factual explanation of how Sainsbury's Brand Match worked. They said the voice-over and on-screen text made clear that the comparison was of the total price of the branded shop. They believed the ad contained all the necessary information for viewers to understand the offer and assess it objectively.
Clearcast said they agreed with Sainsbury's response and that the ad made the offer clear.
The ASA considered that the overall message of the ad was that you did not need to shop around to benefit from all of the deals on branded goods at Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda. We understood that the amount of any voucher for the price difference would be reduced if any of the purchased branded items on offer at Sainsbury's were more expensive at Tesco or Asda, and that in order to achieve the cheapest overall price in these circumstances it would be necessary to shop in different supermarkets. The ad, and in particular the statement "tot up the prices of brands in your basket", indicated that the Brand Match compared the total cost of the branded basket of goods and a voucher was then given if the basket could have been bought cheaper elsewhere. However, we did not consider that consumer's would understand from this that in some circumstances it was still necessary to shop around to achieve the cheapest price, and considered that this contradicted the overall message of the ad. We considered that the ad, and in particular the claims "those deals you love, just now in one place" and "But wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to go everywhere to get them?", misleadingly implied consumers did not need to shop around to obtain the full savings from deals, when in fact that was not the case. We therefore concluded the ad was misleading.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Advertisements must not mislead consumers by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that consumers need in context to make informed decisions about whether or how to buy a product or service. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead consumers depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the advertisement is constrained by time or space, the measures that the advertiser takes to make that information available to consumers by other means. (Misleading advertising) and 3.10 3.10 Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. and 3.11 3.11 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
BCAP has published Guidance on Superimposed Text to help television broadcasters ensure compliance with rule 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. . The guidance is available at:
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Sainsbury's not to state or imply consumers did not need to shop around to fully benefit from deals at Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda if that was not the case.