The ASA agreed with Asda that the TV advert, which depicted a shopper claiming savings over eight weeks, was unclear and unrepresentative in terms of the products it covered. The ASA also agreed the advert misleadingly implied out of date savings were current and could still be achieved.
The advert, which promoted Aldi’s Swap and Save challenge, featured a woman going about family life and shopping interspersed with soundbites to camera. She shopped at her regular supermarket for four weeks, then swapped to Aldi for the next four and claimed to have saved money.
The woman claimed: “So, I was very pleasantly surprised at the variety – the fresh food, the meat, the fruit and veg – it’s cheap and it’s good.
‘An extra holiday’
“I think £45 a week is a lot of money given that we’ve got to spread it so thinly amongst so many things. So it’s definitely worth doing for us. Meaning that we can go on an extra holiday a year.”
Text at the bottom of the screen stated “88 out of 100 people saved. Challenge completed between 01/04/13 and 26/05/13”. On-screen text against a white background stated “Tracy. Still Saving?” and “Could you Swap and Save? Aldi.co.uk/swap”.
Asda complained that:
- the selected elements of the comparison could give the advertiser an unrepresentative advantage;
- the basis of the comparison and savings claims was unclear;
- the type of products, including price promotions or product size, included in the comparison could not be verified;
- the comparative data period used, from April 1 2013 to May 26 2013 was out of date and invalid for a price sensitive market; and
- the claim “I think £45 a week is a lot of money given that we’ve got to spread it so thinly amongst so many things. So it’s definitely worth doing for us. Meaning we can go on an extra holiday a year” implied savings achieved in one month would produce similar savings in the future without adequate substantiation.
Aldi defended itself by saying it had engaged in extensive discussions with advertising adviser Clearcast and agency McCann Manchester about the campaign before it aired.
The discounter said it had worked hard to ensure the comparison of purchases was fair and explained the point of view on its website. But it argued it was not aiming for a straight price comparison, but rather that savings could be made by swapping from another supermarket to Aldi.
It further argued the pricing information was still current enough to be valid. It said the £180 Tracy had saved could be repeated, but added it had not claimed it could definitely and admitted savings would vary depending on the individual.
Summing up, the ASA said: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Aldi to ensure that the basis for comparisons was made clear in future ads and that they should be able to provide substantiation for any savings claims made on the basis of these comparisons.”
It added that similar future ads should include either a postal address to which viewers could write for full details of price comparisons or a web address linked to further information.