Walmart Told to Stop Making Some Savings Claims

walmartWalmart has been asked to change or stop some of its price claims, after office supply giant Staples challenged the accuracy of savings touted by Walmart in a national TV spot and other ads.

The group making the request, the Council of Better Business Bureaus' National Advertising Division, serves as the advertising industry's self-regulating group, and this isn't the first time it has called out Walmart for making claims unsupported by facts.In the current case, NAD said Staples objected to the TV ad for back-to-school sales that claimed consumers could "save 30% or more versus the national office superstores." Staples also took issue with national Walmart print and radio advertisements in which the store claimed shoppers could save anywhere from 28% to 63% on school supplies over its competitors.

In its response to NAD, Walmart said it would take the group's recommendations into consideration in future advertising.

In a two-sentence statement sent to Consumer Ally, Walmart said: "At Walmart, it remains a top priority that we provide clear, low-price information to our customers. As always, we'll continue to take the NAD's recommendations into account in our advertising."

In its response to NAD's inquiry, Walmart said the 30% savings referred to the 36 items seen in its TV commercial and pointed to a pricing survey of 266 Office Depot, Office Max and Staples stores to back its claims. Walmart's response was listed in the NAD decision.

However, NAD in its decision found consumers could misunderstand the commercial: "Even on close examination, a consumer would find it difficult -- if not impossible -- to identify 36 distinct items in this fast-moving, 15-second scene. NAD therefore determined that the "save 30% or more" claim, within the context of the challenged commercial, could be understood as conveying a message of broad savings, beyond the 36 items identified by Wal-Mart."

As for the print ads, Staples pointed out price inaccuracies for certain items. NAD urged Walmart to stop references to inaccurate prices. The group also recommended Walmart stop radio ads that touted a percentage savings claim because consumers had no context for the ad, which referred to a different print ad.

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