Asda has been reprimanded for its original price guarantee ads following complaints from rivals Morrisons and Tesco, a watchdog said.
The TV and national press ads promised to refund customers the difference off their next shop if they found their groceries cheaper elsewhere – namely at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.
Morrisons and Tesco complained that the ads were misleading for suggesting that Asda was generally cheaper than themselves and Sainsbury’s, arguing amongst other points that there were significant exclusions from the price comparison.
Asda said their processes for comparing prices between the retailers were robust, accurate and supported by Clearcast, which approves ads before broadcast.
The supermarket chain said the ads did not imply that all products sold at Asda were covered by the price guarantee offer. It believed the ads made it clear that the offer applied to comparable, grocery products.
The Advertising Standards Authority partly upheld or upheld four of the nine complaints against Asda, ruling that the retailer did not make it clear enough that the price guarantee did not apply to non-grocery products, such as books and football-related items that appeared prominently in the ads.
The ASA said: “We told Asda to ensure their ads did not suggest their price guarantee applied to all items, including non-grocery items and items that were specifically excluded, or that their savings claims referred to shopping generally rather than specific items, if that was not the case.”
It ruled that the ads in question must not appear or be broadcast again in their current form.
Asda said in a statement: “The Asda Price Guarantee is one of the easiest and best ways for shoppers to compare the cost of their groceries. It covers nearly 15,000 different comparable products, including 2,900 fresh foods like fruit and vegetables, milk, bread, fresh meat and fish, plus big brands and own labels too.
“It even includes half price deals available at the other big stores. Which is why our customers love it and our rivals don’t.”