Fresh food grocer Spudshed accused of “out and out lie” but ad watchdog rules ad with chocolate and bottled water is okay


The advertising watchdog has dismissed a complaint about an advertisement from a fresh food grocer that featured chocolate and bottled water alongside the tagline “we grow it, we sell it, you save”, despite one television viewer claiming the ad included an “out and out lie”.

The television commercial for Western Australia-based grocer Spudshed featured Spudshed owner Tony Galati, who repeats the company’s slogan while spruiking potatoes in for Spudshed’s Easter special, which also included bottled water and chocolate.

Spudshed is a family-owned company that was established in 1965 in Yangebup and which grows and sells its own produce across Western Australia.

One viewer took issue with the ad, complaining to the Advertising Standards Board that the deal made it sound as if Galati grew the chocolate and bottled water, as well as the spuds on offer.

“To me… his statement is an out and out lie,” the complainant said.

In its response to the Ad Standards Board, Spudshed defended the ad and cited the same ruling that allows Woolworths to promote itself as “The Fresh Food People” despite selling canned and frozen food.

That case, in 2012, found “the use of the word ‘fresh’ in this context is in relation to the brand and not in relation to the freshness of a specific product.”

Spudshed said Galati owns “a number of farms” and it is “wide knowledge” he produces his own potatoes, as well as cauliflower, carrots, eggs, onions and more.

“Spudshed does not only sell fresh produce or fruit and vegetables, we sell a wide variety of products such as bread, milk, meat and groceries,” the company said.

“These products may be advertised in a commercial and any reasonable person would know that the tag line is not referring to these products.”

“There is no intention on the part of Spudshed to mislead or deceive anyone and we are of the opinion that in no way does the advert in question do this.”

The Board found the defence by Spudshed was consistent with the view the ad “doesn’t suggest that the advertiser grows every single product available to purchase in their stores”.

“Rather, the produce they are able to grow is sold by them,” the watchdog said.

Marketing expert Michelle Gamble, from Marketing Angels, told SmartCompany the consumer’s claim “just seems like a ludicrous complaint”.

“It’s typical of this kind of culture where it’s easier to make complaints, but someone just has too much time on their hands,” she says.

However, Gamble said there is a potential lesson for businesses to learn from the complaint.

“It probably means the offer wasn’t in line with their brand,” she says.

“Good marketing is about building on your brand.”

“Maybe they could have added a cook book or an entertainment book to try and tie people back into their product. But it’s one of those cases where there’s no valid reason [for the complaint].”

SmartCompany contacted Spudshed but did not receive a response prior to publication.


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