German supermarket and global discount chain Aldi, has been told by a self-regulatory group to reconsider adverts on YouTube as well as in print adverts.
Aldi, which is planning a $3.4bn U.S. expansion, gloated in print adverts that ran in Texas that shoppers could save up to 50% on their shopping bills by shopping at Aldi instead of Wal-Mart or Kroger.
Aldi also ran nationwide YouTube adverts which featured many well know bloggers and consumers uploading videos of them shopping at Aldi. The YouTube adverts reportedly included an on-screen statement that people “really do save up to 50%* by switching to Aldi,” the asterisk doesn’t link back to any disclosures.
HEB supermarket, which is based in San Antonio, Texas, challenged the adverts to the National Advertising Division (NAD), a self-regulatory unit administered by the Better Business Bureau. HEB supermarket argued that Aldi’s adverts were problematic for several reasons; including that the claims regarding discounts were based on comparisons between Aldi’s own private-label brands and national brands.
HEB alleged that it has three competing private-label brands for most of the products advertised by Aldi, and that HEB’s prices are either similar to or cheaper than Aldi’s private-label brands.
The National Advertising Division sided against Aldi and recommended that they stop running the challenged adverts and “ensure that the future price comparisons clearly define the basis of comparison, are limited based on the scope of comparison.”
The NAD added that if Aldi is comparing its prices to those of its competitors that sell their own private-label products, Aldi should “avoid the implication…that the competitor does not make the private-label product.”
It was also recommended that any disclosures by Aldi should be clear and conspicuous, and in close proximity to the claim.
Aldi feebly argued that the NAD lacked jurisdiction on the ground that the National Advertising Division only deals with national advertising.