Lidl's middle aisle

Source: Lidl

The ad was for general merchandise products, as featured in Lidl’s famous middle aisle

Lidl has been rapped by the advertising watchdog over misleading Black Friday savings claims following a complaint by Aldi.

The complaint centred on a leaflet ad in a national newspaper in November last year for Lidl’s Black Friday sale, featuring a number of general products including a Sharp TV, Asus laptop and Gtech vacuum cleaner. For each one, Lidl listed a claimed recommended retail price and its own, lower price.

Aldi challenged the claimed RRPs, saying they differed significantly to prices at which the products were generally sold.

Lidl’s evidence included screenshots of manufacturers’ websites, taken around the time the ad appeared, showing similar prices to the claimed RRPs. However, the Advertising Standards Authority said prices set by manufacturers were not necessarily those at which products were generally sold, and deemed the evidence insufficient.

Lidl also acknowledged an error in the case of the Asus laptop, having listed an RRP of £399.99 in the ad, while the manufacturer’s website showed the price as £339.99.

The ASA accepted Lidl’s RRP claim for only one out six products featured in the ad – the Gtech vacuum cleaner – after the discounter provided screenshots of the websites of three retailers, each a main stockist of the product.

Lidl’s evidence in respect of four of the other products also included screenshots of a single retailer’s website. But “given the number of retailers selling those products across the market”, this was “insufficient to demonstrate that the products were generally sold at the RRPs claimed in the ads”, according to the ASA.

“For those reasons, we concluded that the RRP and savings claims for those products had not been substantiated and were misleading,” the watchdog said.

The ASA has told Lidl the ad must not appear again and instructed it to ensure future RRP claims reflect the price at which the products are generally sold.

“We also told them to ensure that they held adequate evidence to substantiate their savings claims,” it added.