Tesco press ads ramp up price war

The war of words between the UK’s biggest supermarkets has intensified with Tesco and Asda launching tit-for-tat press campaigns.

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Tesco ads slam Asda’s pledge to be 10% cheaper than its rivals. Asda ads ask: “Why is everyone talking about the Asda Price Guarantee so much?”

The activity stems from the launch of Asda’s 10% pledge at the start of the year promising to give shoppers a voucher for the difference if their basket was not 10% cheaper at Asda.

Tesco, which says it will complain to the Advertising Standards Authority, says the claim is “confusing and misleading” because it focuses on a narrow range of products.

In a double page ad appearing in national press, Tesco questions the Asda Price Guarantee and shows a range of basic products such as milk and bread, not included in the claim.

The supermarket adds that it will accept the Asda vouchers.

Richard Brasher, who will take over as Tesco UK chief executive in March, says: “It is vitally important that the whole industry acts in a way that deserves the trust of customers.

“We are calling on the ASA to act, and to act quickly, because in our view customers are being misled by false Asda claims.”

Asda hit back at Tesco’s threat saying: “Clearly the truth on pricing hurts. Our simple promise to be 10% cheaper or give customers the difference has gone down very well with customers since we launched it last week. And clearly that’s not gone unnoticed in Cheshunt [Tesco’s head office].”

Supermarkets have been locked in a battle to attract customers by claiming cheaper prices. Morrisons launched “price crunch” earlier this month, reducing the price of over 5,000 products. Waitrose has also recently launched a fresh push for its pledge to match many of Tesco’s prices.

The ASA has yet to receive a complaint but Tesco and Asda have a history of lodging complaints against each other’s advertising.

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