Aldi champagne ad ‘misled consumers’, watchdog rules

Aldi has received a rap from the Advertising Standards Agency, which said its Christmas ad comparing its own-label champagne with a leading champagne brand sold in Tesco misled consumers.

The press ad, which ran last December, compared a selection of Christmas products sold by Aldi and Tesco, including Aldi’s own brand Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut which retails for £11.49, and a £28 Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial Non-Vintage Champagne from Tesco. It encouraged shoppers to ‘Swap to Aldi’ saying they could save 45%.

Tesco complained the ad was misleading, claiming it unfairly skewed the price comparison in Aldi’s favour, and did not make it clear enough that Tesco also sold alternative own-brand and branded champagne products at a cheaper price than the Moët pictured. It objected to the inclusion of the Moët, which accounted for a “disproportionate” percentage of the overall savings (57%), pointing out that other lower-priced branded and unbranded champagnes in its champagne range were more comparable.

Defending itself, Aldi said comparing own-brand versus brand comparisons was “inherently permissible” and that including champagne in a Christmas advert was justifiable as it was a time of year consumers were likely to buy champagne. It argued that the Aldi champagne was the second-best-selling champagne on the market, after the Moët which it compared it against, and it was therefore a fair comparison and did not go against the guidelines.

However the ASA has banned the ad, ruling that the inclusion of the Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial Non-Vintage Champagne in the Tesco basket artificially skewed the comparison in Aldi’s favour and was likely to mislead consumers.

It told Aldi to ensure that in future it chose a selection of products that did not mislead, and that any future multi-product comparisons should not imply that consumers could make a general saving if the claim was based only on a specific selection of goods, rather than a typical weekly shop.

It argued that it was not sufficiently clear in the ad that the comparison referred to the specific seasonal selection, and would be understood by consumers to refer to everyday shopping instead, and that that the same level of savings could be achieved across the year in a typical weekly shop.

“We did not consider that the statement in the small print that “Tesco may sell ‘own brand’ products at different prices” was sufficient to counteract the overall misleading impression given by the selection of products,” it said.

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