U.K. Bans Aldi's 'Misleading' Christmas Dinner Ad

U.K. Bans Aldi's 'Misleading' Christmas Dinner Ad

Published: March 20, 2024

A festive advertisement by discount supermarket chain Aldi, featuring a roast turkey surrounded by vegetables and trimmings, promised the "cheapest Christmas dinner" in 2023.

However, the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced its decision Wednesday to ban the Christmas ad for “misleading advertising” after competitor Sainsbury’s filed a complaint to challenge the ad’s accuracy.

Aldi's Christmas dinner ad as it appeared on a national newspaper.
Aldi's 'Cheapest Christmas Dinner' Print Ad | Source: ASA 

According to the ASA’s official ruling, these four claims on Aldi’s “wrap-around four-page national press ad” for its Christmas dinner products were proven to be misleading:

  • The main text, “THE HOME OF BRITAIN’S CHEAPEST CHRISTMAS DINNER WHY GO ANYWHERE ELSE?” and the basis for the claim, “REVIEWED BY Which? Budget-friendly Christmas Dinner”
  • The text in a box underneath that stated, “2022 PRICE LOCKED”
  • The ad on the back and fourth page made a direct comparison, “Sainsbury’s £44.81” and “Aldi £33.80”
  • Another statement on the fourth page that read, “Swap & Save over 20% on your Christmas dinner”

On the ‘Cheapest’ Claim and Price Comparison

The ASA found the ad lacked transparency regarding the basis for the "cheapest" claim.

While Aldi referenced a price comparison by consumer organization Which? In the ad, the ASA determined that it didn't name Aldi as the absolute winner but only as a “Budget-friendly Christmas Dinner,” a title also awarded to Lidl due to the very small price difference.

The comparison was conducted in November 2023, over a week before the ad rolled out, casting doubt on its relevance to actual Christmas shopping prices in the ad's context.

The price comparison included only seven U.K. supermarkets, which wasn't stated in the ad, and the way the ad was worded made it seem that Aldi is the cheapest supermarket in the entire country.

The ad included some products that weren't part of the Which? comparison of 47 items, potentially exaggerating the price difference between Aldi and its competitors, including Sainsbury’s.

Furthermore, ASA found that the disclaimer “2022 PRICE LOCKED” wasn't sufficient, as it could mislead people into thinking that all the food items in the ad that were priced in 2022 still had the same price for Christmas 2023.

The ASA's Final Decision

The ASA ruled that the Aldi Christmas ad's overall message, with its prominent "Britain’s cheapest Christmas dinner" claim, was “misleading advertising.”

And so, “The ad must not appear again in the form complained of.”

“We told [Aldi] to ensure that they provided sufficient information for consumers to be able to verify competitor comparisons for themselves. We also told them to ensure their ads did not make misleading comparisons with their own previous prices,” the ASA ruling stated.

This case highlights the importance of clear and verifiable claims in advertising, especially when price comparisons are involved.

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