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Code for Comparative Advertising

17 July 1989

Comparative advertising, or advertising that identifies a competing product or service, is characterised by three distinct features:

It should be factual and informative.

It should explicitly or by implication make clear what comparison is being made.

It should not mislead the consumer about other products or services with which comparisons might be made.

Advertisements should not unfairly attack or discredit other products, advertisers or advertisements directly or by implication.

Guidelines

(a)

Comparative advertising should be factual and informative and should offer a product or service on its positive merits. The intent and connotation of the advertisement should be to inform and not to discredit, disparage or attack competitors, competing products or services directly or by implication.

(b)

Comparative claims should be unambiguous and clearly understandable so that there is no likelihood of the consumer being misled as a result of the comparison.

(c)

Where an advertisement makes a comparison, whether explicitly or implicitly, it should be clear with what the comparison is being made, i.e. price to price, dimension to dimension, feature to feature.

(d)

The competition should be fairly and properly identified but never in a manner or tone of voice that degrades the competitive product or service.

(e)

The identification should be for honest comparison purposes and not simply to upgrade by association.

(f)

The subject matter of a comparison should not be chosen in such a way as to confer an artificial advantage upon the advertiser or so as to suggest that a better bargain is offered than is actually the case.

(g)

Where appropriate, comparative advertising claims must be supported by documentary evidence which is easily understood. Where technical data is submitted it should be accompanied by a summary of the relative comparative points, written in layman’s language.

(h)

If the advertisement refers to a competitive test, such tests should have been conducted by an independent and objective body so that there will be no doubt as to the veracity of the test. In all cases the test must be supportive of all claims made in the advertising that are based on the test.

(i)

The advertising should never use partial results or stress insignificant differences to cause the consumer to draw an improper conclusion.

(j)

The product or service being compared should be significant in terms of value or usefulness to the consumer.

(k)

Advertisements should not make unjustifiable use of the name or initials of any firm, company or institution nor take unfair advantage of the goodwill attached to the trade name or symbol of another firm or its product or the goodwill acquired by its advertising campaign.

(l)

Advertisements should not be so similar to other advertisements in general layout, copy, slogans, visual presentation, music or sound effects as to be likely to mislead or confuse.

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Advertising Standards Authority New Zealand, PO Box 10-675, Wellington 6143. PH (04) 472 7852 FAX (04) 471 1785 Email asa@asa.co.nz