A complaint made by a drinks manufacturer said that the brand name Stiffy’s was an overtly sexual reference which is banned under the Portman Group Code.
The Portman Group Panel noted that ‘stiffy’ was a common slang term for an erection and considered that the brand name therefore had strong sexual connotations. However, Stiffy’s Shots (trading as VC2) said the brand name was chosen because ‘Stiffy’ was the nickname of a person involved in the development of the drink – it had not been chosen for its sexual connotations.
The Panel acknowledged that while Stiffy’s may not have deliberately set out to link the product with sexuality, the brand name alluded to sexual success and accordingly found the product in breach of the responsibility Code.
Licensees and retailers have been told not to place orders for stocks of Stiffy’s Jaffa Cake and Stiffy’s Kola Kubez in their current packaging after 31 December.
Portman Group chief executive Henry Ashworth said: “It is totally inappropriate for alcohol marketing to allude to sexual success and following this ruling and our enforcement action, Stiffy’s products will be removed from sale in their current form. We would urge anyone who comes across examples of irresponsible alcohol marketing to complain immediately to the Portman Group.
“Alcohol companies must be extremely vigilant about marketing their products responsibly and we encourage companies and their agencies to contact our fast, free and confidential advisory service which last year alone handled over 500 requests for advice.”