The Portman Group upheld a complaint by the Independent Complaints Panel after a member of the public expressed concern M&S’s product uses the word ‘pornstar’, which links the alcoholic product to sexual success because ‘porn stars’ are idolised as people who have sexual success and are paid for doing so.
The panel believes even though there was nothing else on the packaging that created an association with sexual activity, the name ‘Pornstar Martini’ was enough of an association because of the established definition of a ‘porn star’.
The term ‘porn star’ is defined as an actor famous for appearing in pornographic films, which by their nature, contain sexual activity.
The panel also said since other retailers and online cocktail recipes, including those on the BBC’s website referred to this alcoholic cocktail by name as a ‘Passionfruit Martini’, M&S did not need to refer to the drink as a ‘Pornstar Martini’.
However, Portman Group confirmed its code doesn’t apply to retailer-led promotions such as if a pub creates its own menu and includes a Pornstar Martini within it.
It also stated if a drinks producer has agreed or paid for its product to be used in a Pornstar Martini promotion (such as a bar menu) in pubs, hotels, bars or restaurants, this could fall foul of the code.
A spokesperson for M&S said: “Pornstar Martini is a common name for a passionfruit cocktail drink. Our product launched in September 2018 and quickly became one of our most popular cocktails. However, as a Portman Group co-signatory, we respect the ruling and will be changing the name to Passion Star Martini.”
A Portman Group spokesperson urged drinks producers to consider any impression its products could have.
The spokesperson said: “This decision by the Independent Complaints Panel reminds producers they should always steer away from using imagery or names associated with sexual activity in marketing and labelling.
“Producers should think carefully about what is conveyed by the overall impression of the product and speak to our advisory service if in any doubt. We are pleased M&S has been working with us to amend the name of the product.”