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Administrative Court rejects challenge to supermarket price comparison advertising


The Administrative Court has rejected a challenge by Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd to a decision of the ASA’s Independent Reviewer of Advertising Standards Adjudications, Sir Hayden Phillips, refusing to uphold Sainsbury’s complaint against advertisements relating to Tesco’s “Price Promise” price comparison scheme. The ASA had previously found that the food products compared in the advertising campaign met the same needs or purpose and thus could legitimately be compared.

In its claim, Sainsbury’s contended that the advertisements in question failed to comply with the requirements of the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing, drafted by the Committee of Advertising Practice (commonly known as the "CAP Code"), EU Directive 2006/114/EC concerning misleading and comparative advertising, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Consumer Protection Regulations.

In a detailed judgment, Wilkie J rejected Sainsbury’s claims, concluding that the Independent Reviewer had correctly directed himself as to the applicable law and that the ASA and the Independent Reviewer had acted lawfully in finding, on the basis of their expert judgment, that the products which Tesco had sought to compare were properly comparable.

The judgment is here.

David Anderson QC and Malcolm Birdling instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer appeared for Tesco Stores Ltd (the Interested Party).