An ad for Lidl has been banned for misleading customers over the potential savings they could make compared with Tesco.
The press ad, seen in the Belfast Telegraph between January 15 and January 19, stated: “Save £46* versus the same shop in Tesco.”
The ad showed two supermarket trolleys filled with different products with text above one stating “Lidl £67”, and the other stating “Tesco £113.”
Tesco complained that the ad misled shoppers by comparing branded products it sold with own-brand products at Lidl, even when in some cases Lidl sold the branded product.
Lidl Northern Ireland said the ad compared products with the same purpose and which met the same need on the basis of price, and included Tesco own-brand products.
Upholding Tesco’s complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said consumers would expect the comparison to have been made between the most comparable items, reinforced by the “versus the same shop” wording.
The ASA said: “The ad made no direct reference to a comparison between branded and non-branded goods. In addition, in many cases Tesco sold own-brand equivalents that the price-conscious consumers to whom the ad was addressed were likely to regard as the most relevant comparator products.
“We therefore considered that the basis of the comparison was unclear.”
It ruled that the ad must not appear again, adding: “We told Lidl to ensure savings claims did not mislead by, for example, not comparing the most relevant comparator products; not making clear when branded products were being compared with non-branded; not ensuring price comparison data was up to date; and not stating when the comparison had been carried out.”
Last month the ASA upheld a complaint by Tesco that Aldi had unfairly skewed a price comparison in the discounter’s favour.
Lidl said: “We are disappointed with the ASA’s findings as we always try to be transparent with our customers. We ran a marketing campaign in good faith which compared prices between ourselves and our competitors, in this case Tesco.
“The ASA approached us prior to their final decision and we adhered to their recommendation. Although disappointed, we fully respect the ASA’s decision.”