Portman Group rejects Diageo and Beavertown packaging complaints

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Diageo's Christmas Bauble Cocktails were passed by the Portman Group
Diageo's Christmas Bauble Cocktails were passed by the Portman Group

Related tags: Beer

The Portman Group has investigated and not upheld complaints against Diageo Christmas Bauble Cocktails and Beavertown Gamma Ray for appealing to under-18s.

A complaint was made about Diageo’s Christmas Bauble Cocktails, which were served in a plastic drinking vessel in the shape of a Christmas tree bauble with a plastic straw. Images of the bauble were also used in point-of-sale advertising to promote various cocktails in licensed on-trade outlets, as part of a co-promotion with Greene King.

The Portman Group Independent Complaints Panel said the vessels were simple in design and did not use imagery or fonts that would particularly appeal to under-18s. It also noted that the Bauble Cocktail was only available for consumption in licensed premises and the vast majority of people who would come into contact with the promotion would be aged over-18.

Gamma Ray

A complaint was also made about the product packaging of Gamma Ray pale ale as it was felt that the colour, comic book styling and size of the can would appeal to under-18s.

Bevertown
Beavertown's Gamma Ray

The Panel noted that the word ‘ale’ featured alongside the brand name together with the alcohol by volume (ABV) and other references to the brewery, unit content and Drinkaware. It concluded that the alcoholic nature of the product was clear and complied with European food labelling regulations.

It did not consider that the colouring of the cans would appeal to under-18s although the Panel did note that while a 330ml can was commonplace in the USA for craft beers there could be an association in the UK with a soft drinks can.

In this case, secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, Henry Ashworth said: "The Panel concluded that the packaging did not breach the Code. Whilst the Panel recognises constant innovation by the drinks industry, producers should note that this product was considered to be very close to the line in terms of having a particular appeal to under-18s.

"The Panel advises caution to producers when using illustrations that may inadvertently appeal to the teenage demographic."

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails, Beer

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