A TV advert that claimed shoppers could save money at Aldi has been banned following a complaint from Asda.
Asda challenged the advert in which a shopper named Tracy claimed she had saved “saved £45 a week” as part of Aldi’s ‘Swap & Save’ challenge. The Swap & Save campaign featured four shoppers who shopped for four weeks at a major supermarket before switching to Aldi for the same time period.
Asda claimed that Aldi unfairly selected products for comparison to gain an “unrepresentative advantage”, and that the basis of the comparison and savings claims was “unclear”. It said that elements of the products, such as price promotions and product size, were unverifiable and that the data period referenced in the advert (01/04/13 to 26/05/13) was out of date. Therefore it said the “£45 a week” could not be substantiated or proven against future savings.
The Advertising Standards Authority today upheld Asda’s complaint as it found Aldi had excluded a number of items from the total savings and that this was not made clear in the advert. It also said Aldi had not made it clear to participants exactly what they should buy as part of the challenge and had not asked them to buy the same products at each store.
It criticised Aldi for not providing a full breakdown of the items bought by the four participants on its website. Although Aldi said it had offered to do this for consumers on request, the ASA said this was not made clear, therefore making the price comparisons unverifiable.
The ASA concluded that due to the constantly changing prices within British retail, it was not possible to tell whether the saving claims made in the advert were still accurate when it was broadcast in January. The four participants took part in the Swap & Save campaign over six months before the campaign’s airdate.
An ASA spokesman said: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Aldi Stores Ltd to ensure that the basis for comparisons were made clear in their future ads and that they should be able to provide substantiation for any savings claims made on the basis of these comparisons.”
The ASA also said Aldi should advertise a postal address to which viewers could write for full details of the comparison used.
Aldi said it was “wholly disappointed by the ASA’s decision”.
“We worked with Clearcast to ensure compliance with current BIS pricing and BCAP codes of practice for the campaign,” said a spokesman. “The Swap & Save adverts are based on the actual savings of shoppers and the overall advertising message remains true; you can save money by swapping to do your weekly shop at Aldi.
“It is no surprise that other supermarkets are trying to find issue with our campaign as we continue to impress shoppers with both the price and quality of what we sell.
“We encourage customers of the other supermarkets to swap to Aldi and see how much they can save.”
An Asda spokesman said: “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so when we see something which attempts to pull the wool over their eyes we naturally want to set the record straight.
This isn’t the first time Aldi has run into trouble with the ASA. Back in June 2011, the ASA banned a Swap & Save ad that claimed customers could save up to 40% on their shop by converting from a big-four supermarket. Aldi appealed the ban and it was partially overturned in a subsequent review.