The advertising watchdog has slammed Asda for a "misleading" and "unfair" campaign comparing its prices with rival supermarket Morrisons.
As part of its ongoing 'Why Pay More?' campaign, Asda ran two national press ads comparing the price of a weekly shop. In the first, a trolley containing 44 items cost £69.33 at Asda and £76.65 at Morrisons. In the second, 48 products cost £65.68 and £73.89 respectively.
But the Advertising Standards Authority found both ads in breach of the advertising code under clauses on substantiation, truthfulness and rules on price comparisons. It ruled in favour of complaints made by Morrisons that the Asda trolleys included discounted goods including 'rollbacks', but had failed to take account of Morrisons' bogofs. Morrisons also accused Asda of incorrectly suggesting all the items could be purchased in a single visit to one store. Asda replied that the ad's smallprint had specified that the items were 'subject to availability'.
The ASA also criticised Asda for including a bottled beer that increased in price before the campaign's end.
In its ruling the ASA noted that Asda had already been warned in a previous adjudication to make it clear when promotional prices were compared with non-promotional prices.
The watchdog ordered Asda not to repeat the ads and to consult the CAP Code before publishing any future comparative advertising.