Company: The Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Final Decision: 20 March 1998
Considered under the 2nd Edition of the Code.
“Clause 3.1. The naming and packaging of this product is likely to appeal to under 18s through its clear reference to the British popular music scene. The name ‘Brit Pop‘is a term used to describe a style of music headed by bands such as Oasis and Blur which appeal to a youthful audience. While the design of the bottle features the Union Jack which, taken together with the name, is reminiscent of the clothes worn by Geri of ‘The Spice Girls”.
Under Code paragraph 3.1(h)
The brand name, product descriptor, packaging (including any containers and any external wrapping), labelling and point of sale materials of any alcoholic drink should not in any direct or indirect way be more likely to appeal to under 18s than adults through for example the use of:
(i) imagery or allusion to under 18s culture;
(ii) designs or marketing techniques which are based on or resemble existing character which are popular in predominantly under 18s culture or newly created design characters or motifs which allude to such culture;
(iii) artificially bright colours or style of lettering predominantly associated with under 18s
The company’s submission
The company agrees that the product is named after the British pop music scene but denies that this means they have targeted under 18s. They further deny that the use of the Union Flag meant they were targeting fans of The Spice Girls.
The company adds however that they are no longer producing Brit Pop and that current stocks will be exhausted by June 1998.
The Panel’s assessment
The Panel noted that the company had not disputed that the product was named after the British Pop music scene. The Panel found that the ‘Brit Pop’ music scene was popular with more than one age group. Although in the Panel’s view the product name was likely to appeal to under 18s, as alleged by the complainant, it was not convinced that the name was more likely to appeal to under 18s than to adults, as proscribed by the Code.
The Union Flag was the national emblem and as such it was claimed by many different groups, and was not specifically referable to under 18s culture. No specific reference was made on the product to The Spice Girls or their fans and the Panel was not persuaded that any link with The Spice Girls had been intended or could reasonably be inferred.
In the Panel’s view, if anything the overall appearance of the bottle had football or “New Lad” connotations, and it was not thereby more likely to appeal to under 18s than to adults.
Accordingly the Panel did not uphold the complaint under paragraph 3.1(h) of the Code.
Action by company
No action required.