The ads, created by The Red Brick Road, featured animated products and shopping baskets while a voiceover in the TV spot and text in the print execution stated Tesco’s prices were cheaper than Asda’s.
Asda challenged the ads and made a series of complaints to the ad regulator. A member of the public also challenged the claim of "like for like" as they believed it included comparisons of Tesco’s promotional and own label products with Asda’s everyday prices and branded products.
Tesco said it had made every effort to provide a fair and non-derogatory comparison in the ads and had set out a methodology for the campaign, which had been approved by Clearcast.
The advertiser also stated that due to the scale of the product sample, it might be possible that some products were not matched. They had also included some Asda products that were cheaper than their own products after being advised to do so by Clearcast.
The ASA noted that the comparisons did not always have to be like for like if there was enough information in the ad to demonstrate the basis for price comparison. However, the regulator felt that text in the ads stating "closest match applied" was likely to mislead as comparisons between non-identical products on a large scale gave room for an unfair advantage.
The watchdog investigated the additional complaints and overall found the ads to be in breach of the CAP Code. Both the TV and press ads must not appear again in their current form.