Asda challenged whether Lidl had met an advertising code requirement for online comparisons

Lidl has been told by the ASA to ensure price comparisons made in its ads are more easily verifiable after a challenge from Asda.

Two TV ads compared the total price of a number of Lidl products to that of a single branded product from Asda.

The first, broadcast in January 2017, showed a pack of Young’s cod from Asda followed by a pack of Ocean Trader cod fillets, a bag of oven chips, a tin of mushy peas and a bottle of ketchup from Lidl. Viewers were told they could get the £4 cod fillets from Asda or “fish and chips for four people all for £3.43” from Lidl, according to the ASA’s ruling, published today.

The second, shown the following month, made a similar comparison between a £3.50 pack of Cathedral City mature cheddar from Asda and a packet of Valley Spire mature cheddar, a loaf of bread, a six-pack of small yoghurts, a pack of carrots and a cucumber “all for £3.48” from Lidl.

Asda challenged whether Lidl had met an advertising code requirement for comparisons with identifiable competitors to be verifiable by viewers.

Although text in the ads cited the supermarkets’ respective website addresses as sources, and Lidl’s website featured a breakdown of the individual products’ prices and sizes, one click from the homepage, the ASA ruled this wasn’t enough.

The authority said it didn’t amount to clear enough signposting because “consumers would expect from the ads that to verify the prices they would need to search through the website for the individual product prices themselves”.

The ruling said: “Whilst we considered that it was acceptable in this case for the verification information to be one click away from the homepage, because it was clearly signposted from there, we did not consider the ads themselves signposted sufficiently clearly where the information could be found. We therefore concluded that the ads breached the Code.

“The ads breached BCAP Code rule 3.35 (comparisons with identifiable competitors).

“We told Lidl UK GmbH to ensure that signposts to verification information within their ads were sufficiently clear.”