The battle royale between supermarket chains over which is the cheapest has taken yet another twist after a complaint by Aldi has forced Tesco to pull an ad campaign in which it claimed its prices were way lower than the German discounter’s.
The complaint – which covered a number of areas – was triggered by a series of press and TV ads, launched in October last year, featuring trolley and basket loads of products which Tesco claimed were cheaper than at Aldi or Lidl.
Aldi insisted the ads were misleading because the baskets only featured own-brand “Exclusively at Tesco” products and did not represent a typical shop, triggering an Advertising Standards Authority investigation.
Tesco provided a dossier of evidence, which was more fitting for a court trial than an advertising probe, however, it was all in vain because the ASA ruled on the main complaint that the supermarket had indeed been in breach of the ad code.
Even so, it was not because Tesco had told “porkies” that its own-label products were cheaper than the discounters; it was because the products were “not widely available throughout Tesco stores”.
In its ruling, the ASA found the ads gave the overall impression consumers could save money by swapping from shopping at Aldi or Lidl to buying from the “Exclusively at Tesco” range.
The ruling stated: “We concluded that all of the ads were misleading because they did not make clear that none of the products from the Exclusively At Tesco range were available in Tesco Express or Metro stores, and that the specific combination of products upon which the savings were calculated were available in fewer than half of their larger stores.”
The ASA has ruled that none of the ads should appear again in their current form.
However, the watchdog kicked out two further complaints. The first about the delay between prices being checked and the ad going live; the second over Aldi bemoaning the fact that it had cheaper comparable products than those used in the ad.
But the ruling means that it is all square between Tesco and Aldi; in July Aldi was found to have fiddled the figures in a price comparison ad campaign of its own, which claimed that a stack of its products was far cheaper than “similar” brands at Tesco.
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