Multiple complaints upheld by standards watchdog

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Multiple contributing factors: two separate complaints upheld by the alcohol industries Independent Complaints Panel
Multiple contributing factors: two separate complaints upheld by the alcohol industries Independent Complaints Panel

Related tags Portman group Spirits Independent complaints panel

Objections against multiple drinks products have been upheld by the alcohol industry's Independent Complaints Panel.

Produced by JG Drinks t/a Copper in the Clouds, Mango and Black Pepper Gin, Clementine Light Up Snow Globe Gin Liqueur, and Spiced Sugar Plum Light Up Snow Globe Gin Liqueur were all considered to have a particular appeal to under-18s, a breach of Code rule 3.2(h).

The complaint, submitted by a member of the public, stated: “Copper in the Clouds has a range of gin which feature cartoon like imagery such as a tiger in suit with glasses grating pepper onto a mango, as featured on their ''Mango & Black Pepper'' gin bottle.

“The images are colourful and the characters are all anthropomorphic. I believe these images will appeal to children under the age of 18”.

Additionally, the two Snow Globe Gins, produced by grocery chain Marks & Spencer’s, were also accused of not clearly communicating the alcoholic nature of the drinks on the packaging.

The complaint stated: “I believe the light-up bottles of gin and other drinks being sold and prominently displayed by Marks & Spencer are in breach of Portman’s rules regarding appeal to children.

Multiple contributing factors

“The lights operate only for a limited time then need [to be] switched on again. One can imagine the 'Do it again' cry from children, just as happens with a toy or Christmas decoration with a similar mechanism.”

With regards to communicating the alcoholic nature of the products, the panel concluded despite this being displayed in a small font on the underside of the bottles and on a swing tag label attached to an elasticated string, the information was not commuted clearly enough.

Since the decision, Marks & Spencer has agreed to work co-operatively with the Portman Group’s Advisory Service to make amends to the products but commented the company did not agree with the panel’s interpretation under the code.

Independent Complaints Panel chair Nicola Williams said: “I encourage all producers to think carefully about the overall impression conveyed when designing a product that could inadvertently appeal to under-18s.

“All three products in question had multiple contributing factors in this regard, including their use of child-friendly images and illustrations.”

Furthermore, a separate complaint against premium spirits brand Jatt Life was also recently upheld by the panel after it sponsored driving event the Cannon Run.

Jatt was considered to breach six code rules, including linking alcohol consumption with social success and enhancement of athletic performance, as well as using under-25s in promotional activity.

Reducing harmful drinking 

The Panel noted videos of the Cannon Run were present on the company’s social media channels alongside no evidence of promotion for responsible drinking during the event, or appropriate due diligence to ensure responsible and age-appropriate drinking.  

However, complaints against Jatt for appealing to under 18’s and of causing offence to the Sikh community were not upheld.

Portman Group CEO Matt Lambert said: “We are committed to ensuring people can enjoy alcohol responsibly, and we take our role in reducing harmful drinking seriously.

“As an integral part of alcohol sponsorship agreements drinks companies must ensure there is a recognisable commitment to promoting responsible drinking and the code rules are rigorously applied. 

“This sponsorship of the Cannon Run was both at odds with the spirit of the Code of Practice and in breach of the rules designed to protect consumers.

“It is important the Code remains flexible to change and we will be updating the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks Code to ensure that the appropriate rules apply across the board.”

Related topics Spirits & Cocktails

Related news

Show more