A TV ad for ASDA featured a female school-crossing patrol officer daydreaming and thinking to herself, "Start at the market for veg, down the road for those two-for-ones, superstore for my dog food and home via that place with half-price haddock. Easy. Urgh. Nightmare. Wouldn't it be great if the low prices came to me? Now that would make sense". The voice-over stated, "Yes, it would. Can they cross now?" and the camera panned out to show a long line of school children waiting to cross the road. The voice-over continued, "And it is that simple with ASDA's grocery home shopping. We deliver direct to your door plus we're 10% cheaper or we'll give you the difference, guaranteed. ASDA. Saving you money every day." On-screen text shown throughout the ad stated "Minimum £25 spend Delivery charges & restrictions apply. Terms & conditions see ASDA.com Independent data ASDA v Morrissons.co.uk, Waitrose.com (excludes Northern Ireland), Tesco.com & Sainsburys.co.uk" and "Min 8 different grocery items. 1 comparable. 10% cheaper or a difference via vouchers. Terms & conditions apply".
The complainant challenged whether the 10% cheaper guarantee was misleading because they understood it was limited to ten claims, per household, per month including claims made in-store.
ASDA Stores Ltd (ASDA) said the ad promoted the advantages of online shopping at ASDA and the benefits of using the Price Guarantee and stated that it included all of the significant conditions relating to online shopping. They said it was commonplace to feature the significant conditions in advertising and to refer consumers to further conditions and exclusions elsewhere. They said that the ASDA Price Guarantee was only available to customers via asda.com and that as such, conditions and exclusions were made available to all customers who took advantage of the ASDA Price Guarantee well in advance of encountering the maximum ten claim limit, whether the customer chose to shop online or in-store.
They said that, based on an analysis of a three-month representative example of those customers who shopped online, in-store, or a combination of both, evidence showed that of all customers who took advantage of the Asda Price Guarantee, only 0.08% encountered the 10 claim limit. However, this did not take account of the “minimum £25 spend” referenced in the advertisement, which was likely to reduce the number of customers affected by the limit further still. They said that the percentage of customers who were likely to be in a position to make ten valid claims within 1 month was likely to be less than 0.00001%.
Clearcast believed the ten claims per month restriction was reasonable and pointed out the restriction only related to the number of valid claims, not the number of times that the 10% cheaper guarantee applied (which was not subject to any restriction). They said that the average shopper would not be likely to make ten valid claims during a month long period and that the 0.00001% referenced by ASDA demonstrated that it was a condition that would only affect a tiny minority. They said it was therefore not necessary to state that condition in the ad and that the on-screen text "terms and conditions see Asda.com" made clear that there were some additional conditions on the website.
The ASA noted the 10% cheaper claim compared the price of online shopping at ASDA, to the price of online shopping at other major supermarkets where customers could shop online. This was made clear through the listed advantages of online shopping along with on-screen text which named the supermarket websites against which the offer was being made. We also noted the comparison was further explained in on-screen text which stated that it was based upon a minimum £25 spend on a minimum of eight items, one of which needed to be comparable with items sold at competitor online supermarkets.
We understood that if all of the above conditions were met and an ASDA online shop was still not shown to be 10% cheaper than competitor supermarkets, the money-back voucher was limited to ten per household per month. We noted the number of individuals who submitted enough valid vouchers to exceed this limit was typically around 0.00001% and considered that it was therefore a condition that was only likely to affect a very small number of consumers. We therefore considered that it was not a significant condition that needed to be included in the ad and concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising), 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Substantiation) and 3.10 3.10 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
CAP has published a Help Note on Claims that Require Qualification. (Qualifications) but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.