The Advertising Standards Agency said the ad, which appeared in national newspapers, breached a code relating to comparisons with competitors.
C&C Group had included text with an image of the product saying: “70% of consumers in a blind taste test preferred Magners to Bulmers - Behaviours & Attitudes 2007).”
Bulmers owner Scottish & Newcastle challenged the claim with the ASA because it said the company’s own taste test, carried out eight months later and using an updated version of the brand, had produced different results.
C&C Group said the claim was based on statistics from a stringent survey carried out on their behalf by market research company Behaviours & Attitudes and said there was no reason to doubt it.
However, on closer inspection the ASA said the statistic only referred to consumers in the 25-34-year-old age group and therefore claimed the ad was misleading because it implied the cider was preferred by all consumers.
The ASA also advised C&C Group to seek guidance for any future advertising featuring taste test results.