Comparative advertising has been getting competitors into trouble with the regulators recently. Both the Advertising Standards Authority and the Commerce Commission have warned market participants that comparative advertising must meet certain standards - and they are watching.
Rules to follow
- Compare like with like - the products or services being compared must be exactly the same, not just similar, and be available in the same market.
- Be clear about the basis for comparison - are you comparing on price, quality or service?
- Be careful about accuracy - all claims must be able to be substantiated, all facts must be correct and all the information necessary for a true and fair comparison must be included in the advertisement.
- Keep the claims specific - the Commerce Commission is particularly concerned that comparative ads might suggest a supplier is generally cheaper than another (which would need to be true in all cases).
Formal guidance on comparative advertising
- The Advertising Standards Authority's Code for Comparative Advertising.
- A comparative advertising fact sheet from the Commerce Commission.
Our thanks to Jessica Birdsall-Day for writing this alert.
The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.