Aldi has been caught red-handed fiddling the figures in a price comparison ad campaign which claimed that a stack of its own home products was far cheaper than “similar” brands at Tesco.
The campaign, launched just before Christmas last year and targeting Tesco shoppers, was headed “Swap to Aldi and save” and featured two images showing a selection of products with massive text stating “Save 45%”.
Text above the left-hand image stated “Tesco. These household brands and fresh products £61.56”. The products shown included a bottle of Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial Non-Vintage Champagne. Text above the right-hand image stated “Aldi. These exclusive brands and fresh products £32.54”. The products shown included a bottle of Aldi’s own brand Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut.
However, Tesco cried foul and rifled off a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, arguing that the champagne products included in the selection unfairly skewed the price comparison in Aldi’s favour.
The supermarket giant also complained that the ad did not make sufficiently clear that Tesco also sold alternative own-brand and branded champagne products at a much cheaper price than Moët, and challenged whether the price comparison was misleading.
In response, Aldi claimed the ad was crystal clear that the Tesco goods were household brands while the Aldi goods were Aldi brands. It also insisted that it was “inherently permissible” for it to compare its own-label brands against branded comparisons and multi-product comparisons.
To hammer home its point, Aldi even said that the inclusion of champagne in a multi-product comparison at Christmas time – when many shoppers’ baskets would include one or more bottles of champagne – was justifiable.
However, the ASA was having none of it. In its ruling, the watchdog stated that shoppers reading the message “Swap to Aldi and save” would likely understand it mean that they could make savings generally when swapping from Tesco to Aldi for their weekly shop.
The “Save 45%” text was so dominant in the ad that it did not make it sufficiently clear that the 45% savings related only to the specific selections featured.
Ruling that the ad was misleading, the ASA told Aldi to rip it up and start again. The watchdog also warned the discount chain to ensure future activity compared like with like, and did not skew the offers available.
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