Leading supermarket Asda has been rapped by advertising watchdogs for a ‘misleading’ ad for their own brand nappies.
Watchdogs said that claims made about the absorbency of the Asda nappies also broke rules regarding substantiation as well as comparisons with identifiable competitors.
The supermarket was also told to ensure claims made in future ads were backed up by sufficient evidence, and any comparative claims with competitors were verifiable following a successful complaint to watchdogs by a rival.
Procter & Gamble (P&G), the makers of Pampers nappies, complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about two adverts on Asda’s own website for products in the supermarket’s ‘Little Angels’ nappy range.
A web page for Asda’s Little Angels Comfort Dry nappies included the claim “as absorbent as the leading brand,” while a web page for Asda’s Little Angels Supreme Protection nappies included the claim “our…most absorbent nappy ever.”
P&G challenged whether the claims were misleading and could be substantiated.
Asda said the claim “as absorbent as the leading brand” meant that Little Angels Comfort Dry nappies had the ability to soak up and retain at least as much liquid as the leading nappy brand, which they had identified as Pampers Baby Dry.
The supermarket said the claim “our … most absorbent nappy ever” meant that their Little Angels Supreme Protection nappies would soak up and retain more liquid than their other own-brand nappies.
Asda said the claims were backed up by lab tests.
But the ASA expressed concerns over the testing chronology and the data provided.
An ASA spokesman said: “An ad that featured a comparison with an identifiable competitor must include, or direct a consumer to, sufficient information to allow them to understand the comparison, and to be able either to check the claims were accurate themselves, or to ask someone suitably qualified to do so.
“While Pampers Baby Dry was not explicitly named in the ad, we considered consumers would readily identify the ‘leading brand’ as being Pampers.
“However, we noted the ad did not include any further information about the comparison.
He added: “The ads must not appear again in the form complained about.
“We told Asda to ensure that in future they held sufficient evidence to substantiate claims consumers would understand as objective, and to ensure that any comparative claims with identifiable competitors were verifiable.”