Tesco gets ambiguous Asda ad banned

Tesco has successfully managed to get an Asda ad banned by the advertising watchdog after objecting that the ad’s claims were ambiguous.

A double-page spread in the national press headlined ’The big Asda Rollback’ offered ’lower prices on everything you buy, week in week out’ and claimed ’Lower prices than any other supermarket’.

Tesco objected the claims were misleading even with the additional text qualifying some of the statements.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned the ad on a number of counts. In the ad, Asda followed up its claims that it had lower prices on everything ’week in week out’ with a list of claims such as ’Over 930 prices lowered on grocery essentials – Over 200 prices lowered on bakery’.

Asda was censured because it was unclear whether the weekly lower prices were in comparison to its own prices or those of other supermarkets. Asda claimed it was clear the prices were referring to its own products, but the ASA disagreed and ruled against the supermarket.

The ASA also objected to Asda’s list of products that were ’lower week in week out’ because it implied all the recuctions had been made in the week immediately preceding the ad. However, in reality the reductions were made across the preceding month.

A further objection by Tesco over the ’Lower prices than any other supermarket claim’ was also upheld by the ASA, even though there was qualifying text stating price comparisons were made against Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

The ASA upheld the complaint because the claim was an absolute one, rather than a comparison of prices of same brand and size products at the three supermarkets referred to in the disclaimer.

Asda has been told the ad can not reappear and future ads must not use the same ambiguous practices.

Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline has escaped censure after 86 viewers claimed a TV ad for Lucozade Alert Plus, depicting a driver on a dark and snowy road, was irresponsible for implying the product could improve reaction times.

The ASA ruled in favour of the ad because the product contained caffeine and advice from the Department for Transport states caffeine drins are a useful short-term solution to driver tiredness.

While objections about British Gas ads claiming it has the cheapest standard gas and electricity tariff of any major supplier in the UK have been overturned. The ASA agreed that data submitted by British Gas demonstrated the company did have the cheapest tariffs at the time the ads appeared.

This story first appeared on Pitch, Centaur’s subscription-based online interactive marketplace for agencies and clients to share news, opinion and debate.

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