One of the ads features two bananas and the slogan, ‘same price, different values.’ The text reads ‘…take the two bananas above. One’s from Sainsbury’s. It’s Fairtrade – which means a fair deal for the producers, irrespective of market forces. The other’s from Tesco. It isn’t. They cost exactly the same. But that’s where the similarity ends.’
The move follows the decision by the ASA to throw out a complaint made by Sainsbury’s about Tesco’s campaign, which compares the price of ‘own brand’ products. Team Sainsbury’s argued that as the products were not exactly the same in terms provenance and quality, therefore they shouldn’t be compared in terms of price.
Speaking about the two shops’ ‘basics’ ham range, Sainsbury's commercial director, Mike Coupe said: ‘They are priced the same, but our pork is British, and Tesco's is sourced from somewhere else in the EU.’
Tesco, on the other hand, agued that most shoppers are no concerned with where their products come from. ‘For the majority of customers, the product's country of origin would only be a minor factor in a customer's decision-making,’ it told the ASA.
Having weighed up the two sides of the squabble, the ASA said it had noted Sainsbury’s concerns but felt Tesco’s ad had clearly explained the details of the comparison. Er, mainly price. Since Sainsbury’s new ad campaign explains this comparison even further, Britain’s supermarket goers should be able to make their own informed decisions.
How Tesco will take this move from Sainsbury’s however remains to be seen. Chances are, it’ll throw its bananas out of the pram.