Dragon Soop 500ML Can Complaint Not Upheld

12/10/2015

A complaint about the packaging of Dragon Soop (500ml can) for encouraging immoderate consumption and appealing to under-18s has not been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP).  A copy of the full decision can be read here

The complainant, Middlesbrough Council Public Health Team, were concerned that the product encouraged irresponsible consumption as it contained the UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) daily unit guidelines for men (3-4 units) and exceeded that for women (2-3 units). The complainant also considered that the brightly coloured packaging, the cartoon dragon image and product flavour would appeal to younger people.

The ICP considered the product packaging under paragraph 3.2(f) (encouraging illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption) and 3.2(h) (having a particular appeal to under-18s) of the Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks. 

In considering the product, the Panel referred to previous rulings on 500ml cans and the wider societal context including the Public Health Responsibility Deal pledge which stated that signatories ‘will not produce or sell any carbonated product with more than (4) units of alcohol in a single-serve can’. It was noted that whilst four units of alcohol was on the threshold of the CMOs’ lower risk daily guidelines for men (3-4 units) and above for women (2-3 units), taking into consideration all factors within the context of the case, they concluded that on balance the product did not encourage immoderate consumption. Accordingly, the Panel did not uphold the product under Code paragraph 3.2(f).  

The Panel considered whether the product had a particular appeal to under-18s. The Panel noted that whilst some of the colours were bright, the imagery (including the dragon) was neither overly childish nor likely to particularly appeal to under-18s.  The Panel therefore concluded that the product did not breach Code paragraphs 3.2(h).

Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, Henry Ashworth said:

‘‘It is vital that alcohol packaging or marketing does not encourage irresponsible or immoderate drinking, and must certainly not appeal to children. In this case the complaint was not upheld but we always encourage producers to contact the Portman Group’s advisory service for free and confidential advice.”