Source: Aldi

Aldi has received the latest in a series of advertisement bans in its ‘Swap and Save’ campaign, following a complaint from Tesco.

An Aldi ad claiming a 45% saving compared with Tesco on a selection of products has been banned by the ASA for being likely to mislead.

The ad compared branded products at Tesco to own label ones from Aldi, along with fresh produce from both. The ad, which appeared in the press on 8 December last year, said the Tesco basket cost £61.56 compared with Aldi’s £32.54, representing a saving of £29.02.

Small print clarified that ‘Tesco may sell own brand products at different prices’ but the ASA said it was insufficient to ‘counteract the overall misleading impression given by the selection of products’.

The ad showcased products bought at Christmas, rather than items typical of a weekly shop at other times. They included a bottle of £28 Moët champagne and Aldi’s £11.49 own brand Veuve Monsigny, prompting Tesco to complain of a ‘skewed’ comparison.

Text above each basket said that Tesco’s included ‘household brands’ while Aldi’s were ‘exclusive brands’.

However, the ASA said the ad’s bigger heading, saying ‘Swap to Aldi and Save’, could be taken to mean the claim was not limited to the products shown but applied more generally to a weekly shop. The watchdog also pointed to equally large text at the bottom of the ad saying ‘save 45%’ as likely to be interpreted as more generally applicable.

‘Because we had not seen evidence that this was the case we considered the ad was likely to mislead on that basis,’ the ASA said in its ruling.

It’s not the first time a ‘Swap and Save’ Aldi ad has run in to trouble with the ASA. In December 2014, also following a complaint from Tesco, an ad was banned for providing insufficient information to consumers to verify the claimed saving. That followed the first ban, earlier the same year, after a complaint from Asda about another ad.

In its latest ruling, the ASA said it was permissible to compare branded with own label products ‘provided that the comparison was not misleading’.

It said the Aldi champagne was ‘unlikely to have the same name recognition and associations for consumers as the Moët’ from Tesco. Because there were cheaper Tesco champagnes that consumers would consider more comparable with Aldi’s, the Moët’s inclusion ‘skewed the comparison and was likely to mislead consumers’.

The ad must not appear again in its current form and Aldi has been told by the ASA to ensure future comparisons do not imply general savings based on a specific selection of products.