Supermarket giant rapped by Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for price comparison ad that suggested its products were consistently cheaper than competitors Aldi and Lidl.
Tesco has had a series of its ads banned by the ad watchdog for misleading consumers into believing shopping basket or trollies full of its products undercut a comparative shop at rivals Lidl or Aldi. The ads in question were national press ads and a TV commercial for the supermarket that ran last autumn.
Aldi challenged the ads on three counts, including the fact that the trollies or baskets were entirely comprised of Tesco own-brand products and did not therefore constitute typical shops. However, following an investigation, the ASA only upheld one of the three complaints put forward.
The Tesco ads contained statements, such as “if you're looking for great value on these baskets, look no further than Tesco”, “to help you spot the cheapest trolley, we've circled it”, “It's easy to spot the Tesco trolley here, it's the one with the lowest price”.
The ads plugged the ‘Exclusively at Tesco’ range in each instance and did not include any premium-branded and the ASA stated that consumers would be given the overall impression was that, by swapping from shopping at Aldi or Lidl to buying from the ‘Exclusively at Tesco’ range, consumers could make savings and that the level of savings highlighted in the ads were representative of the level of savings which could be achieved by price-conscious shoppers.
However, the issue was that more than half of Tesco’s larger stores would not have been able to offer the combination of Tesco products used to calculate the savings it was claimed consumers could make. Moreover the products were not available in Tesco’s smaller stores; Tesco Express and Metro, or indeed, any Tesco stores in Northern Ireland.
The ASA, therefore, 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 ruling deemed that the ads must not appear again in their current form.