The television advertising for SuperValu featured a young woman cycling her bicycle in Tramore. The on-screen text referred to the cyclist as “Anne Cheasty, Tidy Towns Chairperson and SuperValu Employee.” She encountered various residents carrying out improvements in their locality as she cycled. Some of the landmarks which they were working on were referenced, once again by on-screen text as:
• “Coast Guard Station Rejuvenation
• Railway station mural
• Tramore Beach – Blue flag since 2011”
The female voiceover then referred to the following:
“I believe SuperValu tidy towns has made a huge difference here in Tramore.
It connects old and young. And it gives local people a way to show real pride in where they’re from. I believe that’s important for every town, and so does SuperValu.
It’s why they’ve sponsored Tidy Towns for the past twenty-three years. Shop in a local-run store like SuperValu, and up to three times more money goes back into the local economy, supporting community projects throughout Ireland.
Ms. Cheasty was then featured outside SuperValu making the following statement:
“If you believe in local, you know where to shop.”
The complainant considered the statement “Shop in a local-run store like SuperValu, and up to three-times more money goes back into the local economy, supporting community projects throughout Ireland” to be superfluous and misleading. He said that the statement had not been supported by any reference to an independent survey and therefore in his opinion it lacked proof.
The advertisers said that they disagreed with the complainant’s observations. They believed that making a statement as to the value of spending money in locally owned businesses in the context of SuperValu’s support for the Tidy Towns campaign over the last 15 years to be very relevant. They also pointed out that the Musgrave Group in conjunction with its independent SuperValu retailers, such as SuperValu Tramore, made a huge contribution to the local economy.
In providing substantiation for the claim made in their advertising the advertisers referenced Mr. Power’s report (“Power Report”) a report for the Irish market by Mr. Jim Power, an Irish economist based on his perspective. On page 4 of this report the advertisers said that it was stated that evidence from the Irish experience was consistent with the international evidence that
“the local economy multiplier effect is significantly greater for community based owner operated shops than for large retail multiples.”
In the next paragraph of the report it was stated that “an extra €100 spent in a locally owned shop would result in an injection of €250 into the local economy. The same €100 spent in a large multiple would result in an injection of just €140 into the local economy.” Therefore the advertisers said that €100 spent in a locally owned shop generated an injection of an extra €150 while €100 spent in a multiple generated an injection of an extra €40, almost four times less.
The advertisers said that between the Musgrave Group and their retailers they employed approximately 40,000 people in Ireland. They considered that it was clear from information provided on the internet that they employed many more people in the state than their multiple competitors. They also said, as set out in the “Power Report”, a higher level of employment was only one of the ways in which local shopping brought benefits to local communities.
They believed that there was a significant difference in the impact of consumer spend in a locally owned store on local and charitable projects. They were aware that SuperValu and Centra retailers invested approximately €2.8 million of their own money (excluding Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland (MRPI) contribution to local charities). In addition to this MRPI also invested substantial amounts through its sponsorship of the Tidy Towns competition and of the GAA. In addition they had also raised in the region of €3,000,000 for cancer charities and Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin over a 10 year period. It was their belief therefore that the amounts raised by them far outstripped those raised by each of their competitors.
Complaint Not Upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They considered that the substantiation provided by the advertisers, including that from the “Power Report”, provided adequate evidence for the claims made in their advertising and did not uphold the complaint.
No further action was required in this case.