Tesco’s comparisons ‘not misleading’

Posted: 14th November 2014

GroceriesThe vexed issue of comparative advertising came under scrutiny as supermarkets giant Sainsbury’s failed to convince the High Court that Tesco’s ‘Price Promise’ campaign did not compare like with like and resulted in consumers being misled.

Both retailers run price comparison schemes; however, Sainsbury’s is restricted to branded goods whereas Tesco’s is broader, taking in fresh produce and ‘own brand’ products. Sainsbury’s complained that the comparisons made by Tesco in an advertising campaign took no account of ‘non-price’ factors – including quality, corporate responsibility and ethical sourcing – and were thus misleading.

Those arguments were rejected by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which found that the products sought to be compared by Tesco ‘met the same needs or purpose’ so far as consumers were concerned and could thus be legitimately compared with Sainsbury’s goods which were said to be equivalent.

That decision was later upheld by an independent reviewer and, in dismissing Sainsbury’s judicial review challenge to his ruling, the Court found that there had been no error of law in his approach. He was entitled to find that the ASA had applied the correct legal test and that its conclusions were defensible.