A press ad, seen on 16 July 2020, depicted a large roundel which stated “Aldi Price Match”. Further text below stated “Now we’ve added lots of big brands too”. Smaller text at the bottom of the page stated “Prices checked and matched on hundreds of comparable products from GB Aldi stores and/or online twice weekly. Price most often found is matched excluding promotional prices. Prices matched pro rata. Products matched may vary by week. Selected Tesco stores excluding Express and all NI stores. Product availability varies by store. Details at tesco.com/aldipricematch”.
IssueAldi, who believed the ad failed to make the basis of the comparison clear to consumers, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Tesco Stores Ltd t/a Tesco believed that the ad made the basis of the comparison clear to consumers and was not misleading. Tesco stated that the claim informed consumers that they had added a number of branded lines to the existing price match scheme. Tesco explained that a sample of the branded products were shown in the ad to illustrate the claim, as was a link to the relevant verification information which outlined the added branded lines. Tesco stated that the ad was clear that the ad related to the specific products shown or a collection of products falling within the scope of the scheme. Tesco confirmed that the scheme comprised hundreds of products and did not cover Tesco’s or Aldi’s entire ranges. They said that was repeatedly communicated to customers.
Tesco did not believe that consumers would understand the claim to mean that Tesco was selling large numbers of branded items at Aldi own-label prices. Rather, Tesco considered that consumers would know that Aldi sold branded items and so would interpret the claim to mean that branded lines had been added to the price match, and that Tesco would match those lines with comparable products at Aldi, whether branded or not. Tesco confirmed that they always matched branded products at Tesco with branded products at Aldi, with only a couple of exceptions. They had never matched a branded product against an Aldi own-brand product where the same brand was available at Aldi. Tesco believed that consumers would be aware that Aldi stocked branded products as well as the own-label products. Tesco stated that Aldi stocked at least 140 brands and, within that, at least 300 individual branded products including Coca-Cola, Hovis, Nescafe and Stella Artois ranges.
The ad depicted an image of a selection of products alongside the headline “Now we’ve added lots of big brands too”. Smaller text beneath stated “Prices checked and matched on hundreds of comparable products”. The ASA understood that Aldi believed that the ad was misleading because it showed mostly branded products and did not explicitly state what they were being price-matched against: the same brands sold at Aldi, Aldi own-brand goods or a mixture of both. In the absence of such information, they believed that consumers could understand from the ad that Tesco would price match across all of Aldi’s products and that they could obtain a large number of branded products at Aldi own-brand prices, at Tesco. However, we considered that the overall impression to consumers was that Tesco had added “big brands” to an existing price match scheme and therefore that the range of products included in the scheme had expanded. In combination with the image of the collection of items and the smaller text stating that “hundreds” of products were compared, we considered that consumers would understand from the ad that not all of Aldi’s product range was price matched in the scheme.
We also considered that consumers were likely to be aware that Aldi sold a mixture of branded and Aldi own-brand products. We also noted the presence of the smaller text which stated that prices were matched against “comparable products”. We therefore considered that consumers would interpret the ad to mean that Tesco was price matching Aldi on comparable individual products, such as the branded items shown in the ad, and that price would be checked against the same product or, in rare circumstances, the nearest comparable product at Aldi if the branded product was not available. We did not consider that consumers would interpret the ad as suggesting that the branded items shown were being price matched with Aldi own-brand items nor that consumers would be able to obtain lots of “big brands” at Aldi own-label prices.
We reviewed the substantiation price match data and noted that all branded products in the scheme were matched against the identical product at Aldi except in one instance where Aldi did not sell the brand. We considered that the ad made clear to consumers that the price match was in relation to a selection of products rather than in relation to Aldi’s entire product range, and that branded products would be matched with the same branded product where it was available at both stores. We therefore concluded that the ad was not likely to mislead.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) 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) 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation) and 3.33 3.33 Marketing communications that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer about either the advertised product or the competing product. (Comparisons with identifiable competitors), but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.