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Product: Retail (Supermarket)
Advertiser: Aldi Stores (Ireland) Limited
Medium: Internet (Company Website), Television
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 4.31, 4.32
Three advertisements featured a couple discussing the savings they made by shopping at Aldi. Each advertisement included the statement:
“The Home Sweet Home of Swap & Save”
The advertisements also included the savings claim “Over 4 weeks we saved €264”
together with on screen text stating:
“Shopping took place from: 03/05/21 to 30/05/21. Participants received a gratuity for participation. Prices compared between Dunnes/SuperValu and Aldi. Savings price is calculated on a pro-rata basis. For further information see aldi.ie/tv”
The Aldi ‘Amazing Savings’ webpage stated:
“The Home Sweet Home of Swap & Save
Swap and Save for amazing savings
Join the hundreds of other families who have already swapped to Aldi and saved on their weekly shop. They’ve discovered the award-winning quality and range in every store so there’s no going back now. Meet the newest families in our challenge and follow their journey to saving more.”
An image of the couple was featured on the website:
“We saved €264 when we swapped to Aldi.”
Followed by a footnote:
“Shopping took place from 03/05/21 – 30/05/21. Price comparisons completed 17/06/21. Participants received a gratuity for participation. Prices compared between Dunnes/SuperValu and Aldi. Savings price is calculated on a pro-rata basis.”
Followed by a link to a Product Comparison list.
Further down the page was a section featuring four other families:
“Meet the Families in the Swap and Save Challenge
Say hello to the newest families in our Swap and Save Challenge. Learn all about them
and find out what they’re enjoying most about Aldi so far.”
The Aldi/tv.ie webpage featured an image of the featured couple.
“Shopping was completed on the dates shown below.
Shopping took place from 03/05/21 – 30/05/21. Price comparisons completed on
17/06/2021. Participants received a gratuity for participation. Prices compared between Dunnes/Supervalu and Aldi. Saving price is calculated on a pro-rata basis.”
Tesco Ireland objected to the advertising on the following grounds:
Tesco Ireland noted the use of the term “Swap and Save” in the advertising together with a footnote stating that prices had been compared between Dunnes/SuperValu and Aldi. They considered that the overarching description of the Campaign was misleading as no evidence had been shown that any of the families in question, including the only family for which price substantiation was provided, actually swapped from Dunnes or SuperValu to Aldi. They stated that it appeared from the substantiation provided online that the featured couple shopped first in Aldi and subsequently (several weeks later) the prices of the products purchased were compared against Dunnes and SuperValu, therefore, they considered that naming the Campaign ‘Swap and Save’ was inaccurate.
Tesco Ireland objected to the time periods used in the campaign as they said that the grocery market was price sensitive, with prices varying from month to month. They noted that the shopping completed by the featured couple took place between the 3rd and the 30th of May 2021 and that prices were then compared with Dunnes/SuperValu on the 17th of June 2021, some three weeks after the last shop for the campaign, and over six weeks after the date of the first shop. They said that in order to accurately compare products, they should be compared on, or as close as possible to, the date of the shopping. They therefore considered that the time lapse between the product comparisons was misleading to consumers.
Tesco Ireland objected to the inclusion of other families on the advertisers’ website without substantiation or reference to savings. They said that the families had been included on the Webpage - aldi.ie/amazing-savings under the banner ‘Swap and save for amazing savings’, however, no mention of the savings these families had allegedly made, nor was there any reference to the products they purchased, or the timeframe in which they did their shopping. They considered that this was misleading to consumers.
Aldi replied to the issues raised by Tesco Ireland.
Aldi noted that the complainant’s claim that the Campaign showed no evidence that the families identified in the advert actually swapped from Dunnes Stores or Supervalu. They accepted that the advert implied that the couple featured (who were the only family in respect of which savings were claimed) swapped from Dunnes Stores/Supervalu to Aldi in circumstances where the substantiating information in relation to the saving of €284 claimed by them referred to Dunnes Stores and Supervalu, however, nowhere in the advert was there any claim that any of the other families identified in it swapped from Dunnes Stores or Supervalu.
They said that as far as the couple featured were concerned, prior to participating in the Campaign, their usual supermarkets were Dunnes Stores and Supervalu. As part of the Campaign, prior to their switching to Aldi, they were asked to complete their usual shop in Dunnes Stores and/or Supervalu for four weeks, subsequent to this, the couple switched supermarkets to Aldi and they (Aldi) then compared the price of the products comprised
in the four week shop in Dunnes Stores/Supervalu with the price of equivalent products in
Aldi and the saving of €284 claimed was based on this comparison. In this regard, they consider that Tesco have mistakenly believed that the savings claimed were based on the couple doing four weeks shopping in Aldi and then Aldi comparing the price of equivalent products in Dunnes Stores/Supervalu.
Aldi stated that it was crystal clear from the advertising that the price substantiation on their website only related to the specific savings claimed by the featured couple. They did not consider that there was any basis for Tesco’s suggestion that the advertising claims that the families identified in the advertisement other than the featured couple, swapped from Dunnes Stores/SuperValu to Aldi. They said that it was demonstrably true that, in so far as the advertising suggests, the couple featured swapped from Dunnes Stores/SuperValu to Aldi.
In response, Aldi stated that the savings claimed in the advertising were based on the couple carrying out a four-week shop in Dunnes Stores/SuperValu and Aldi then comparing the price of an equivalent shop in Aldi. They said that the shopping in Dunnes Stores/Supervalu took place in the period between 3rd May and 30th May 2021 and the comparison with an equivalent shop in Aldi was made between 17th May 2021 and 15th June 2021. They said that the savings claimed in the advertising did not relate to the price of individual products, rather they related to the cost of the couple’s four-weeks shopping in their previous supermarkets against the cost of an equivalent shop in Aldi. They said that while it was conceivable that the prices of a limited number of the products comprised in the shop may have changed during the period between when the shopping in Dunnes Stores/Supervalu occurred and the date on which the price comparison with the equivalent Aldi products took place, any such price changes would not have had significant effect on the overall savings claimed. They said that while it was possible that the price of some products in Dunnes Stores/Supervalu may have fallen in the period between when the shopping took place and when the comparison with Aldi took place, they said it was equally likely that the price of other products could have increased.
Aldi stated that they did not consider that Tesco has furnished any evidence of price changes that would materially affect the savings claimed in the advertising. They said that the advertising made it clear the dates on which the relevant shopping took place in Dunnes Stores and Supervalu and when the comparison with Aldi took place. They considered that consumers were aware that retailers frequently change their prices, and accordingly, any consumer observing the advertisement would be aware that there could be changes in the prices of products during the period in which the shopping in Dunnes Stores/Supervalu took place and when the comparison in Aldi took place and would factor that in when assessing the claims in the advertising.
Aldi stated that nowhere in the advertising had any claims been made that the families other than the featured couple, made any savings by switching to Aldi.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’
Issue 1: - Not Upheld
The Committee noted that the premise of this part of the campaign was that the couple featured in the TV advertisement completed their usual shop in their usual supermarket for four weeks and that after this the couple were asked to switch to Aldi. In the meantime, Aldi themselves, compared the products purchased by the couple in their usual supermarket over the four-week shop against the price of equivalent products in Aldi and that this was the basis for the saving.
The Committee noted that the couple featured int the TV advertisement discussed their shopping experience in Aldi and referred to how much they had saved.
The other families referred to on the advertisers’ website were pictured under the heading “Meet the Families in the Swap and Save challenge” and text that included “… find out
what they’re enjoying most about Aldi so far. No claims were made at this point about what supermarket(s) they had swapped from.
The Complaints Committee noted that there was evidence from the families own accounts and, in the circumstances, they did not consider that the advertising breached the Code on the basis suggested in the complaint.
Issue 2 - Upheld
The Committee noted that the dates the shopping had taken place in the couple’s previous supermarket were provided in the advertising and that the date of the comparisons with Aldi was provided on the Aldi/tv.ie webpage. On reviewing the dates, the Committee noted that the price comparison was completed on the 17th of June which was three weeks after the shops in the previous retailer had been completed. Noting the acceptance in the response that comparator prices may have fallen or increased, and that a premise for the campaign was predicated in savings, the Committee considered that there was sufficient potential for differentials in the advertised savings due to comparator pricing fluctuations over the whole period. In the circumstances, as the saving claim has been presented as an absolute, the Committee considered that the advertising had the potential to mislead and was therefore in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.
Issue 3 - Upheld
The Committee noted that the television advertising had only featured one family during each part of the campaign and this family were the only family featured on the website at that time that included a savings claim. In regard to the website, the Committee noted that while other families had been shown, no specific savings claim had been made on the website for any of the other families. However, they were featured in the “The Home Sweet Home of Swap & Save” with text stating “They’re making some pretty amazing savings too”. The Committee noted that substantiation for the claim that these families had experienced savings on swapping to the advertisers’ stores had not been submitted and in the circumstances, the Committee Considered that the advertising was in breach of sections 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.
Action Required: The advertising should not appear in its current form.