Big Beastie

Company: Inver House Distillers
Breach: Yes

Complaint Summary: “The striking colours of the bottle and the spider and web imagery is childlike and is considered to have a particular appeal to under 18s.”

Complainant: PIPC (following audit of Code compliance)

Decision: Under Code paragraph 3.2(h) UPHELD
The company said that, after a similar complaint against this product’s packaging had been upheld in 2006, they had liaised with the Portman Group’s Advisory Service to amend the packaging.  In February 2006, the company had received confirmation from the Advisory Service that, in its opinion, the amended packaging was compliant with the Code.  This amended packaging was still in use.  The company denied that this packaging would appeal particularly to under-18s and argued that many other wine and spirit bottles adopted equally striking colours.  They noted that neither the original nor the current complaint emanated from a member of the public despite the product’s widespread distribution.

The Panel acknowledged the company’s actions following the previous complaint.  It nonetheless considered that the changes made were insufficient to overcome its concerns under the Code.  It considered that the garish colours, coupled with the childish outline of a spider and its web, would still cause the product to appeal particularly to under-18s.  It therefore found the product’s packaging in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(h).

Action by Company: The company said that, in light of the Panel’s decision, they would remove the product from sale voluntarily within the first quarter of 2009.

Code Paragraphs: 3.2(h)