Tesco has received an advertising ban from the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following a complaint from Asda.
The ads promoted price comparisons between baskets, saying that on the 30th of January, shopping was cheaper for over 1.1 million Tesco customers. Tesco baskets were then shown alongside Asda baskets with the statement based on “1,150,000 cheaper” and “940,000 cheaper”.
The footnote stated: “Equivalent products compared, covering over half our customers’ purchases, includes promotions. Excludes multibuys, non-matches, Express, selected Metro. To verify contact Tesco Price EN8 9SL or www.tesco.com”.
Rival operator Asda challenged whether Tesco offered an appropriate means of verification for the basket of goods comparison.
When Asda requested verification information, Tesco sent it a copy of the methodology they used, a list of matched lines and a list of 380 baskets it selected at random, showing the contents of each basket.
However, the ASA conlcuded, that for a competitor to verify the claim, Tesco should have disclosed the full data for the total number of baskets on request so that the competitor could then “interrogate the date and then ascertain for themselves whether the comparison was accurate. Because Tesco only supplied a sample of the baskets they had compared, we concluded that the basket of goods comparison was not verifiable”.
The ASA ruled the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form and in future, Tesco should provide consumers and competitors with the full data set for comparative claims for the purposes of verification.
This is the third ASA ruling against the UK’s largest grocer retailer in the past four months.