ASA rules against Asda in Safeway price comparison row

Safeway won a round in the long-running supermarket price war this week when the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the grocer’s complaints about ads by rival Asda.

The press and poster ads compared two shopping trolleys – one from Asda and one from Safeway – under the headline “Safeway is the dear way”.

Both trolleys appeared to contain the same products, but the ads claimed the Asda goods were over &£7 cheaper than their Safeway equivalents. One of the press ads also declared that customers could “Pocket the difference at Asda, always!”.

The ASA agreed with Safeway that the ads were misleading, because they did not compare like-for-like products and implied that Asda was always cheaper than its competitors.

A spokesman for Safeway says: “Safeway is very pleased with the outcome. It felt that Asda was seriously misrepresenting the position and misleading consumers.”

The supermarket has promised to match Asda on prices in its hypermarkets, the first of which opens today (Wednesday) in Plymouth. The spokesman adds that this price promise may be highlighted in regional ads in areas where Safeway is competing with Asda for customers.

Asda concedes there were “a few technical errors” in the ads, which were created by Publicis, but adds that the ASA “agreed that Asda is cheaper than Safeway”.

Another complaint lodged by Safeway against Tesco in October this year over its price comparison ads is still being considered by the ASA.

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