An ad for discounter Aldi has been banned for misleading customers by artificially skewing price comparisons with Tesco.
The press ad, seen in early December and featuring baskets of Christmas-themed items such as chocolate and Champagne from Tesco and Aldi, was headed: “Swap to Aldi and save.”
The ad claimed that Tecso’s basket would cost shoppers £61.56, including a bottle of Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial Non-Vintage Champagne, while Aldi’s “exclusive” brands and fresh products, including the supermarket’s own brand Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut, would cost £32.54.
Further text stated: “Save 45%,” while small text at the bottom of the page said: “Tesco may sell ‘own brand’ products at different prices.”
Tesco complained that the Champagne products included in the selection unfairly skewed the price comparison in Aldi’s favour, and that the ad did not make sufficiently clear that Tesco also sold alternative own-brand and branded Champagne products at a cheaper price than the Moet bottle.
Aldi said own-brand versus brand comparisons were “inherently permissible”, adding that the Aldi Champagne was the second bestselling Champagne on the market, after the Moet Champagne against which it was compared.
Upholding Tesco’s complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the ad gave the overall impression that consumers could make savings generally by swapping from Tesco to Aldi and “save 45% every day”.
It noted that the Aldi Champagne was priced at £11.49, while the Moet champagne in the Tesco basket was priced at £28, a price difference of £16.51 out of the total price difference of £29.02.
The ASA said: “Given that there were other lower and mid-range priced Champagnes available at Tesco, both branded and unbranded, which would be considered by price conscious consumers to be more comparable with the Aldi product, we considered that the inclusion of the Moet product in the basket of goods skewed the comparison and was likely to mislead consumers.”
It added: “We told Aldi to ensure that when making multi-product comparisons in future they did not imply that consumers could make more general savings if the claim was based only on a specific selection of goods, rather than a typical weekly shop.
“We also told them to ensure that their selection of comparator products did not mislead.”
An Aldi spokesman said: “This was a one-off seasonal advert published more than seven months ago. The ruling does not impact our ongoing Swap and Save adverts, which clearly show how much shoppers can save by switching to Aldi.”