The television advertisement featured images of various products available to purchase.
“At Lidl there's been some changes to ensure the safety of all our customers and staff. But some things haven't changed at all, you can still do your full weekly shop and make great savings on thousands of products. You can still get everything you need to make your family delicious meals all week. And a big thank you to our local suppliers who are still bringing you fresh Irish vegetables and 100% Bord Bia approved beef, lamb and poultry. Even in uncertain times you can still rely on Lidl for quality, range and incredible savings.
Lidl, more for you.”
The press advertisement featured various foods under three headings. “Quality”, “Range” and “Savings”. The foods under each section were split into different categories, with the ‘Quality’ section featuring green fruit and vegetables such as peppers, a kiwi, chillies and limes; the ‘Range’ section featuring food in a white sauce and the “Savings” section featuring a cut of meat with a bowl of chips.
There has been some changes to how we all shop lately. But what hasn’t changed is Lidl’s commitment to locally sourced fresh vegetables and 100% Bord Bia approved fresh beef, pork, lamb and chicken.
You can still do your full weekly shop at Lidl and pick up everything you need to make your family delicious meals for the whole week.
And you can still count on Lidl when it comes to thousands of great savings throughout the store.”
Aldi Stores (Ireland) Limited objected to the television and newspaper advertising on the following grounds.
Aldi Stores considered that the claim under the “Savings” heading of “thousands of great savings throughout the store” was both incorrect and misleading given that they believed that the advertisers only carried a range of products that amounted to one thousand five hundred. They noted that the advertising did not identify particular products or provide any substantiating material.
Aldi Stores considered that claim in the press advertisement under the “Quality” heading; “But what hasn’t changed is Lidl’s commitment to locally sourced fresh vegetables and 100% Bord Bia approved fresh beef, pork, lamb and chicken” was misleading as the foods featured in the image included peppers, kiwi’s, limes and chillies which they did not consider could be locally sourced in Ireland on the scale required by Lidl. They considered that the wording and the images together incorrectly suggested that Lidl locally sourced these products. They also considered that the use of the Irish Tricolours, green, white and orange in the advertising implied that all products depicted were locally sourced.
Lidl Ireland stated that the term “thousands of savings” was invoked frequently in retail advertising and they provided an example of another advertiser who had made the same claim. They said that the advertising did not form part of a sustained advertising campaign as it had only appeared in April 2020 on a limited number of platforms. They said that they had chosen to implement it during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic to promote public confidence in ongoing product availability and supply chain integrity. They said that they had also wished to communicate to consumers that they were still offering discounts and that consumers could still count of great value in a time of economic uncertainty. By way of substantiation, they provided a list of the weekly promotions that took place in their store over the duration of the campaign, a list of approximately 900 products, stating that they considered the volume of promotions and the value that was offered, showed that the savings throughout the store were clearly evident. They stated that the list of 900 products with price reductions was in respect of a period of two months only, 6th April to 6th June and as such, the overall number of products which had price reductions taken over the course of a year would far exceed the 900 items initially listed and would therefore equate to thousands of items where savings could be achieved. They said that the advertising was intended to refer to their store generally and not the two-month period during which the 900 products were reduced. They did not consider that their statement to have ‘thousands of savings’ was misleading given that they would have thousands of reductions over a period of time.
They believed that their campaign was in full compliance with the Code given that the savings had been substantiated and the advertising was factually correct.
Lidl Ireland stated that the statement had highlighted their commitment to locally sourced fresh vegetables and 100% Bord Bia approved fresh beef, pork, lamb and chicken. They said that this was factually correct as they proudly source fresh vegetables, where available, from local suppliers in priority to other suppliers. They considered that the premise of the complaint was to link a tenuous inference that all products depicted were sourced locally, which was at variance with the plain wording used in the campaign.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
Issue 1: Complaint Upheld
The Committee noted that the advertising offered ‘savings on thousands of products’ (press advertisement) and ‘make great savings on thousands of products’ (television advertisement) whereas the evidence provided demonstrated that at the time of the advertising, approximately 900 products were involved. They considered the advertising had overstated the availability of the savings and was therefore in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10.
Issue 2: Complaint Upheld
The Complaints Committee noted that compliance with the Code is assessed in the light of a marketing communication’s probable effect when taken as a whole and in context. (Section 2.4c).
The Committee noted that the press advertisement had featured products under the ‘Quality’ heading that were not known for traditionally being grown in Ireland and that no comment had been received in relation to the inclusion of the images of these products in the advertisement.
The Committee considered that, when taken as whole, the references to ‘locally sourced’ and Bord Bia together with the use of the colours of the Irish Flag, the press advertisement implied that all the products featured were Irish products. In the circumstances, they considered that the press advertisement was in breach of Sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.
The advertising should not re-appear in its current form.