Aldi’s cheapest Christmas dinner claim was misleading, says advertising watchdog

Complaints from rival Sainsbury’s over Aldi’s price claims are upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Aldi's cheapest Christmas dinner claim was misleading, says advertising watchdog
Publicity image from Aldi of their Christmas dinner productsAldi

Aldi’s claim it had “Britain’s cheapest Christmas dinner” was found to be misleading after Sainsbury’s reported it to the advertising watchdog.

An advert stated that consumer group Which? had found Aldi’s festive meal was 20% cheaper than Sainsbury’s.

But the rival supermarket argued the claims were misleading and could not be verified. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaint.

Aldi said the ruling was based on “an advertising technicality”.

In early December, Aldi ran a four-page wraparound newspaper ad with the strapline: “The home of Britain’s cheapest Christmas dinner. Why go anywhere else?”

It also stated: “Sainsbury’s £44.81”, “Aldi £33.80” and “Swap & Save over 20% on your Christmas dinner”. Sainsbury’s questioned whether those claims could be verified.

Aldi said they were made based on an independent third-party comparison on the Which? website titled “Which is the cheapest supermarket for Christmas dinner ingredients?”

But the ASA said the advert would lead shoppers to believe that the total cost of buying ingredients for a typical Christmas dinner would be cheaper at Aldi than in any other supermarket, “so there would be no reason to shop around”.

It also said people would think Which? had given Aldi a “cheapest Christmas dinner” award. In fact, Which? had found that a Christmas meal was only 4p cheaper at Aldi than at Lidl, and had given each of the discounters “budget-friendly Christmas dinner” crowns.

Sainsbury’s also pointed out that the price comparison was made at the end of November. It said this was not representative of prices when shoppers would be buying fresh ingredients for their Christmas dinner, and the ASA agreed the advert was misleading in this regard.

Retail analyst Natalie Berg said supermarket price wars had intensified in recent months “so this would have been the last thing Sainsbury’s needed”, especially during the crucial run-up to Christmas.

“The supermarkets are fighting tooth and nail to prevent customers from switching to the discounters.”

Colin and Cuthbert

PA/Aldi

This latest supermarket row comes after Tesco was forced to stop using its Clubcard Prices logo after a long legal battle found rival Lidl said the yellow circle on a blue square infringed rival Lidl’s copyright.

Last year, a “confidential settlement” was reached after Marks & Spencer accused Aldi of copying its Colin the Caterpillar cake.

Aldi said it remained “confident that customers will make significant savings every time they shop with Aldi.”

A Which? spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that a Which? endorsement logo and our research was used in an advert that has broken the regulator’s rules on marketing and we have sought assurances from Aldi that it will not happen again.”

Sainsbury’s said: “It’s really important to us that customers are able to make fairly informed decisions about where they choose to shop and we are glad the ASA has recognised the misleading nature of this ad.”

Source: bbc.co.uk

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