Rule Change on Comparison Advertising Gives Marketers a Broader Scope

Effective from today, a change to the rules on comparison marketing, which is particularly used by supermarkets to outshine their competitors on value, is set to issue in a range of new strategic promotional activity.

Previously, the Committee of Advertising Practise's (CAP) broadcast and non-broadcast codes have stipulated that brands can only make price-based comparisons on products deemed to be "identical or substantially equivalent".

The rule change means that marketers have the go-ahead to make a broader range of comparative claims. For example, own-label supermarket brands are now able to compare items with branded equivalents on price, while budget brands have been green lit to compare prices with high-end luxury products.

CAP claims the rule extension will "benefit both consumers and advertisers whilst retaining the robust protection in the codes to prevent misleading advertising."

Marketers will however need to make it clear to consumers that comparisons are being made on the basis of price, not product.

In other developments, CAP and the broadcast equivalent BCAP codes have also been changed - business to business brands are now permitted to promote prices excluding VAT, as long as their advertisements target businesses and not consumers.

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