Dr Oetker was ordered to remove adverts that said ‘Best Pizzeria Taste at home. 9 out of 10 agree’ after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found the advert misled consumers. The advertising watchdog said Dr Oetker’s survey contained returning customers, and those responding purely for a complimentary pizza. It also said the sample method was not clear in the advert, ultimately making it misleading.
The advert appeared with the text: ‘Survey of 58,037 UK Ristorante buyers and 2,000 ROI Ristorante buyers including first-time and repeat buyers of pizza. 52,700 (90%) UK and 1,829 (91%) ROI participants agreed with the statement ‘Ristorante has the best pizzeria taste of any pizza I have purchased to cook at home’.’
2 Sisters claimed the adverts were misleading and could not be validated.
Dr Oetker said respondents came from buyers of its promotional packs, and were told they would receive a free pizza voucher whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement ‘Ristorante has the best pizzeria taste of any pizza I have purchased to cook at home’. It therefore said the survey was not influenced as respondents were not obliged to respond positively to receive the free pizza.
‘No intention to mislead consumers’
The ASA said: “Dr Oetker wished to emphasise that they had no intention to mislead consumers and had undertaken an extensive due diligence process prior to advertising.
“They had sought advice from the Institute of Promotional Marketing (IPM) on many aspects of the promotion such as whether the headline claim accurately reflected the survey data.”
However, the ASA upheld 2 Sisters’ claim, and banned the advert from appearing on Facebook or Ristorante’s website.
The ASA said consumers would assume the advert was representative of the public, and the respondents would have compared different brands in the survey.
The watchdog also noted that 23% of respondents had previously purchased Ristorante frozen pizzas before. The survey was therefore not from a random sample.
The ASA said: “While we appreciated that [the advert] had detailed how the survey had been conducted, we considered that all of our concerns with the sample and methodology were not readily apparent from viewing [the advert] and were unlikely to have been identified by consumers. We therefore concluded that both ads were misleading.”
‘Upheld ASA complaint’
Dr Oetker told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We acknowledge the upheld ASA complaint referring to a past campaign for Ristorante pizza over concerns that the sample could not be fully substantiated as ‘representative of the general public’.
“We are however still pleased that 52,000 out of 58,000 consumers agreed that ‘Ristorante has the best pizzeria taste of any pizza I have purchased to cook at home’.”
Meanwhile, 2 Sisters-owned Goodfella’s head of marketing Stewart McGuckin said: “We believe that consumers should be able to make an informed choice based on straightforward, accurate information about quality, ingredients and taste.
“At Goodfella’s we are committed to the highest standards, great quality and the best taste and have found that pizza consumers are responding well to our delicious products.”
ASA ruling on Dr Oetker – at a glance
- Dr Oetker website and Facebook page advert banned
- Advert claimed 90% of people agreed Ristorante had the best pizzeria taste at home
- Banned as respondents did not rate Ristorante against other brands
- Advert ruled as misleading as representative of public