Company: Gaymer Group (part of Matthew Clark Brands Limited)
Final Decision: 30 September 1997
Considered under the 1st Edition of the Code.
“The transparent nature of the label, together with the description of the product being in tiny letters, mean that the alcoholic nature of this product is not clearly communicated. The alcoholic strength is easier to see but this is itself is not sufficient to clearly communicate the alcoholic nature. Confusion for the consumer is compounded by the style of the product’s packaging which resembles that of many non-alcoholic herbal drinks and flavoured waters.”
Matthew Clark Brand Limited’s letter of 21st July 1997 states that the product was only ever test marketed between 1st January 1993 and 5th August 1993, the last recorded sale was in August 1994 and the Company has not plans to reintroduce the brand into its portfolio. The complainant stated that it bought the product sample at ASDA in February 1997 and the Company has since confirmed by fax dated 30th July 1997 that 3 branches of ASDA sold the product last year and one at the beginning of this year. In those circumstances, the complaint having been made and not withdrawn, the Panel decided to go on to consider it.
The Panel considered the complaint under the first edition of the Code issued in April 1996.
The Panel compared the packaging to the packaging of a brand of flavoured herbal water (Aqua Libra). The Panel was of the view that the product’s alcoholic nature and its alcoholic strength were not clearly communicated to consumers by clear indication on the packaging. Accordingly, the Panel upheld the complaint under Paragraph 3.1 of the Code.
For this reason, and also because the product looked like other drinks of a non-alcoholic nature such as Aqua Libra, the Panel also upheld the complaint under Paragraph 3.5 which provides that the packaging and point of sale of materials should ensure that there can be no confusion of identity with a non-alcoholic product.
The Panel was pleased to note that the Company has now taken steps to ensure that the product is no longer on sale anywhere in the UK.
Action by company
No further action required.