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Advertising watchdog calls on B&Q to remove misleading ad

Published: 10 September 2008
B&Q told press ad claiming a spotlight was cheaper than one from John Lewis must not appear again in its current form.
The Advertising Standards Agency has told B&Q to remove a national press ad because a comparison made with a John Lewis product was misleading.

The ASA considered that a price promise titled 'Why pay more?', coupled with a price comparison ('Compare our prices and you'll be amazed') against a spotlight at John Lewis, implied that B&Q had compared the price against the same product, as opposed to a similar product.

In the ad B&Q said it would also match the price if consumers could find a product cheaper and give 10% off. It added that consumers finding a product 1p cheaper would receive a refund of the difference and 10% off the lower price.

John Lewis challenged the ad claiming it was misleading because it did not sell the spotlight advertised (Jena) but a similar, and higher quality, one (Scala).

While noting B&Q's argument that it had compared similar products, and that the comparison table showed that many components of the two lights were similar, and some of the components, such as the bulbs, were the same, the ASA considered that there were material differences between the two.

"Because the two products were different in some aspects, we concluded that B&Q had not compared like-for-like products and that the ad misleadingly implied that John Lewis sold the same Jena spotlight as B&Q," the agency said.

The ASA assessment added that the ad breached code clauses on 'truthfulness' and 'comparisons with identified competitors and/or their products'.

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