Five advertisements, including press ads and a television campaign, have been banned for making misleading claims.
The ads, which featured items such as children’s books and deck chairs alongside food products, ran last year when Asda launched its Price Guarantee
Rival supermarkets Morrisons and Tesco complained that the ads included groceries and non-food items which were excluded from the price comparison.
The supermarkets also complained that Asda implied it was generally cheaper than its rivals and did not make it clear that there were “significant” exclusions from the price comparison.
Morrisons complained that Asda’s Price Guarantee could not be substantiated because its prices could not be accurately reflected as they do not appear online.
The ASA ruled that the small on-screen footnote telling consumers about exclusions was “not sufficient to warn consumers that the Asda Price Guarantee did not apply to non-grocery items” and the overall context of the TV ad was therefore misleading.
The supermarket has been warned that its ads must not suggest that the price guarantee applies to all items, including non-grocery items and excluded products. It must also ensure that savings claims do not refer to general shopping rather than specific items included in the price guarantee.
However, the ASA ruled that Asda’s twice weekly independent checks on Morrisons in-store prices in lieu of online information, is a fair methodology.
An Asda spokesperson says the supermarket remains committed to the Asda Price Guarantee and its recently launched 10% cheaper pledge. She adds that despite specific examples in these ads that have been ruled misleading, the ASA ruling shows that “the Asda Price Guarantee as a concept is valid and fair”.
Tesco has also lodged a complaint against Asda’s more recent 10% cheaper pledge which it says “makes the even more misleading assertion that Asda is 10% cheaper than its competitors – which it is not.”
Tesco commercial director Richard Brasher says: “Asda has been found out here, but by running virtually the same campaign again and stretching the truth even further it is flaunting the spirit of the ASA ruling. I look forward to a quick resolution to the latest investigation – customers have a right to be treated much better than this.”