Press advertising for Lidl on 28th January 2020 contained images of items which had dropped in price.
Below an image of the Lidl Logo, text stated:
FOR FULL DETAILS AND LOTS MORE!
PRICE DROPS. 100 Permanent Price Drops already in 2020. See in-store for even more!”
Similar advertising appeared on 3rd, 12th and 17th February with the following number of price drops being identified:
3rd February – “110 Permanent Price Drops” 12th February – “120 Permanent Price Drops” 17th February – “180 Permanent Price Drops”
Aldi challenged the number of price drops identified in the advertising. They said that while readers had been invited to “See in-store for even more!” that having visited some Lidl stores around the country, they could not see evidence of any permanent price drops, let alone the 180 identified on 17th February.
Aldi said that contrary to what was claimed in the advertisement i.e., to visit Lidl’s website “for full details and lots more”, they could not find any information on the permanent price drops on the website. They considered, therefore, that the advertising was misleading.
The advertisers said that the entire premise of their price drop campaign had been to demonstrate the significant savings to be made over an array of products rather than itemising the individual savings on a per item basis. They pointed out that their advertising had not referred to any specific price savings, as the fundamental basis of the campaign had been to clearly demonstrate an all-encompassing concept which related to better value through price reductions.
The advertisers forwarded with their response a list which showed product names, old and new lower prices and the effective date of each price reduction, which demonstrated the number of price drops for the timeframe in question. They pointed out that they were de facto far in excess of the numbers advertised. The list included a total of 155 ‘permanent price’ changes listed for January and a total of 185 listed for February. They pointed out that in all cases the lower price tickets had been implemented in their stores and their website had displayed the new lower prices for all products encompassed by the price drop campaign.
The advertisers forwarded with their response a list which showed product names, old and new lower prices and the effective date of each price reduction which demonstrated the number of price drops for the timeframe in question. They pointed out that they were de facto far in excess of the numbers advertised. The list included a total of 155 ‘permanent price’ changes listed for January and a total of 185 listed for February. They pointed out that in all cases the lower price tickets had been implemented in their stores and their website had displayed the new lower prices for all products encompassed by the price drop campaign.
They provided an image from their website which included text which stated “PRICE DROP. YOUR SHOP COSTS LESS” and which displayed a range of products with the new lower price and the previous ‘was’ price’.
In conclusion they said they considered that their advertising had been fully compliant with the ASAI Code.
The ASAI Executive asked the advertisers to provide date stamped images of the advertising that would have been displayed on their website at the time of the promotion or to provide other material to substantiate the claim “WWW.LIDL.IE FOR FULL DETAILS AND LOTS MORE!” The advertisers said that it was with great regret that owing to a change in internal technology and to changes in their marketing team, they were unable to provide the information to demonstrate the substantiation for their claim.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
Issue 1 – Not upheld
The Committee noted the list of items provided by the advertisers to substantiate the claims made in their advertising. They observed that for the month of January there had been a total of 155 ‘permanent price’ changes listed and for the month of February there had been a total of 185 listed.
The Committee pointed out that the requirement under Section 4.10 of the ASAI Code was that advertisers should be able to substantiate all claims made in their advertising. In view of the list of price drops provided in this case, the Committee concluded that the claims re the number of ‘price drops’ had been substantiated and that the advertising was not in breach of the Code on the basis suggested in the complaint.
Issue 2 – Upheld
The Committee noted that the advertising had invited readers to visit the website to see full details of the products involved in the ‘price drops’ and also noted the image provided from the website containing the ‘was’ price alongside the newer lower price.
The Committee also noted, however, that the images provided had not been dated and, that arising from a technology change, historic data to demonstrate the claim could not be provided. In the circumstances and noting the Code requirement that relevant evidence should be sent without delay if requested by the ASAI and should be adequate to support both detailed claims and the overall impression created by the marketing communication (4.10), the Complaints Committee considered that the advertising claim “WWW.LIDL.IE FOR FULL DETAILS AND LOTS MORE!” had not been adequately substantiated. The Committee concluded that the advertisement had breached Section 4.10 of the Code.
The Complaints Committee told the advertisers to ensure that substantiation for both detailed claims and the overall impression created by advertising is retained.