Supermarket ad complaint upheld

The price wars between the supermarket behemoths Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs is heating up, with Foodstuffs winning the latest legal skirmish. A decision by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled Progressive Enterprises guilty of presenting an artificial advantage and breaching ethics guidelines.

The complaints were over in-store advertisements in Countdowns at Rotorua and Christchurch that compared the price of similar baskets of goods with those bought from Pak’n’Save. The ASA found nine out of 33 items on Progressive’s list were on special, while only three out of the 33 goods purchased from Foodstuffs being discounted.

The ASA saw this as a breach of guidelines ruling ‘the subject matter of a comparison should not be chosen in such a way as to confer an artificial advantage upon the advertiser so as to suggest that a better bargain is offer than is actually the case.’

But while Foodstuff’s may have won this battle, the price war continues. The moral of this story is that dueling duopolies must compare like with like, especially in advertisements emphasising price differences between competitors.

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