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M&S reprimanded by ASA over Christmas claim

M&S has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after they claimed that they were the only “supermarket where Christmas dinner cost less than last year”.

A Good Housekeeping survey was used as the basis of M&S’ claims, however the ASA said this was “misleading” and “substantiation” because “it had replaced a fresh turkey with a frozen one and a high-end cake with a cheaper alternative”.

The ASA also took issue that M&S had not found any evidence of other supermarkets “had also replaced a fresh turkey with a frozen one and changed their Christmas cake for a cheaper alternative for their 2017 dinner”.

The ASA also warned the advertiser over another slogan that said: “We’re £10 cheaper than 2016”, saying that this was also an example of “misleading advertising” also due to the fact that the dinner was not of the same quality.

The ASA said of M&S’ response: “M&S stated that in both cases, the GHI’s (Good Housekeeping Institute) requirement was simply that the item fell within the applicable stipulated category and was a certain minimum weight/size, not for example that the turkey or cake had to be of a certain range or quality. Furthermore, they provided a table summarising the GHI’s requirements for submissions for the survey.

“M&S stated that in both cases, the GHI’s requirement was simply that the item fell within the applicable stipulated category and was a certain minimum weight/size, not for example that the turkey or cake had to be of a certain range or quality. Furthermore, they provided a table summarising the GHI’s requirements for submissions for the survey.”

ASA told M&S: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told M&S that their future advertising for such offers must not suggest that they were offering items of the same quality as in previous years when that was not the case.

“Furthermore, they must ensure that their advertising did not suggest that an offer was a like-for-like comparison with their competitors’ unless that was the case and could be supported with adequate evidence.”

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