Do you mention your competitors' prices when advertising? If so, watch out!

Article

10 February, 2009

With sales difficult to find, the temptation to use unfavourable price comparison ads in order to drum up business may be tempting, but if you do, you need to take care.

While comparative advertising is allowed in certain circumstances, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently made a ruling, against supermarket giant Tesco, which shows the danger of price comparison ads that go too far.

The advertisements in point showed a shopping trolley full of goods and made very unfavourable price comparisons with Asda (for which the strap line was 'Why Pay More at Asda?') and Morrisons (for which the ad had the strap line 'Save a trolley-load of cash at Tesco'). The goods used included items that were on special offer at Tesco and these prices were compared with the normal selling price of those goods at the other stores.

Tesco argued that that the comparisons provided a snapshot of savings that could be made at Tesco and that it was clear that the advertisement applied only to the items shown.

The ASA concluded that the advertisements created the impression that Tesco was generally cheaper than its competitors and that the statement on the ads, that they included products on promotion, was not sufficient to correct that impression.

So, if you mention to existing or prospective customers the prices of your competitors, be careful how you go about it. The decision is a warning to businesses that it is the overall impression of their advertising which is important, not just the statements made in it.

If you require any advice or assistance please contact Charlotte Wood on 01254 222399, contact Charlotte Wood by email.

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