Charity’s fury over Aldi advert ruling

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Save Our Seals Fund has hit out after its complaint against supermarket advert is dismissed by Advertising Standards Authority 

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13th January 2017 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Save Our Seals Fund has submitted an appeal after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled against its complaint over an Aldi advert.

The charity took exception to an advert (below) screened by the supermarket in September last year, saying it misleadingly implied that Aldi's salmon were caught in the wild rather than farmed.

Featuring a range of produce the theme of the advert was that Aldi’s products are amazing and at one point featured a man seen scuba diving in the water reading a newspaper, with fish swimming around him.

The diver states, "How's this for amazing? Aldi's Specially Selected Scottish Salmon is RSPCA assured." On-screen text also stated "Aldi's Specially Selected Scottish Salmon is RSPCA assured"

The Scottish charity, launched in 1996 to provide support and assistance to seal rescue sanctuaries and to promote the protection of seals, their food sources and their environment, was one of five who complained about the advert.

“I am astonished that our complaint was rejected,” John Robins of Save Our Seals Fund said.

“The TV ad showed a handful of pristine salmon swimming freely in open clear water when in reality farmed salmon swim in circles in net cages containing tens of thousands of fish.

“Fish farmed in floating factory farms can suffer have damage to their snouts, eyes and fins due to the stocking density. The environment below the cages is seldom clear because of the tonnes of fish excrement which can build up on the seabed.

“I have asked for a review of the ASA Ruling as I believe it is seriously flawed. I will also raise the matter with the RSPCA as Aldi made much of the fact that their salmon is RSPCA assured in their defence of their advertisement.”

ASA ruled that the ad did not contain any express claims regarding the provenance of Aldi's salmon and that the average viewer was unlikely to interpret the ad to mean that Aldi's salmon were caught in the wild.

It did consider that some viewers would not know that the RSPCA Assured scheme promoted the welfare of animals in captivity, rather than in the wild.

However, it considered that the reference to "RSPCA Assured" was unlikely, in itself, to imply that Aldi's salmon were caught in the wild.

The ASA report further stated: “We considered that the overall tone of the ad was humorous and fantastical, and that viewers were likely to understand that the locations and situations featured did not necessarily equate to real-life scenarios.

“We also noted that the fish were not being caught or captured. We therefore also considered that, as with the specific claim above, the scenes in the ad did not imply that Aldi's salmon were caught in the wild.”

Aldi has been approached for comment on the ruling.