Company: Inter Continental Brands (ICB) Limited
Breach: No
Final Decision: 18 August 1997

Considered under the 1st Edition of the Code.

Complaint summary

“Inter Continental Brands are not very sensitive to the feelings of people who have inherited a condition where an individual can be called an Albino.

People who have this condition are very sensitive to name-calling and I feel that it is hard enough to go through life being called an Albino without every time you go into a Supermarket, Restaurant or Public House people will look at you, and look at the above product and laugh (not very nice).

Someone who is an Albino has white hair, fair skin and in some cases can have pink eyes. The bottle which has been designed is white with an eye logo on the side which is red and this bottle along with the name is very offensive.

According to the Albino Fellowship after they approached a supermarket who stocked this product and explained how they felt, the product was removed from their shelves.

There are tens of thousands of people called Albino in the UK and I know when they all hear of this product they will be angry. I know in my heart I would not like to go into a pub or supermarket with my girlfriend and know this product is on the shelves.”


Member of the public from Belfast.


The Company by its solicitors’ letter of 4th August 1997 stated that, as a complaint had been made, and as the Company had become more aware of the medical condition, Oculo Cutaneous Albinism, they would not wish to take the risk of causing offence to an affected individual and thus intended to change the name of the product on its next production run. Nevertheless, the Panel decided that the complaint should go forward for consideration and decision by the Panel in accordance with its usual practice.

The Panel shares the complainant’s view that the use of the name “Albino”, for an alcoholic drink, especially when coupled with the design adopted for the container of this product could cause offence to those affected by the condition of Oculo Cutaneous Albinism and to others too. However, under the current (April 1996) Code, use of the name and design is not in breach of the Code’s provisions.

Nonetheless, the Panel is pleased to note that the Company has decided to change the name of its product on the next production run, rather than run the risk of causing any unnecessary offence.

The Panel also noted that the Company had sought and obtained prior advice about the product from The Portman Group’s Pre-Launch Advisory Service. The Panel however is independent and is not bound by any such advice as may be given by the Portman Group’s Pre-Launch Advisory service, as is pointed out when such advice is given.


Action by company

No further action required.