Company: Cell Drinks
Final Decision: 21 July 2011
Considered under the 4th Edition of the Code.
“The use of pouch-style packaging…is most comparable to a children’s drink.”
Member of the public.
Under Code paragraph 3.2(h)
A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way have a particular appeal to under 18s.
Under Code paragraph 3.2(j)
A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way suggest that the product can enhance mental or physical capabilities.
The company’s submission
The company explained that throughout the development process of the product it had worked closely with the Portman Group Advisory Service and made changes to the product packaging in accordance with the advice received. It acknowledged that pouch-style packaging was still relatively new to the alcoholic drinks market but said that a number of other companies were now using the same format, not least because of its environmental advantages. The company pointed out that there were many other examples of packaging styles, including 330ml cans and 2 litre plastic bottles, which had been used for soft drinks but which had been adopted by the alcoholic drinks market. The company asserted that it had worked hard to ensure the packaging did not appeal to under-18s and purposely had not used imagery or bright colours which it believed could appeal to that sector; it had also ensured the alcoholic nature was clearly communicated on its packaging.
The Panel’s assessment
The Panel noted that the company had made regular use of the Advisory Service and seemed to have taken on board all of the advice given. The Panel also acknowledged that alcoholic drinks were sold in a range of packaging akin to the packaging used for soft drinks. The Panel considered that the packaging made very clear that the product contained alcohol. Overall, it considered that the packaging was unlikely to appeal particularly to under-18s and it accordingly did not find the product in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(h).
The Panel then considered whether the brand variant ‘Reverb’, which on its packaging claimed to have a ‘high caffeine content’, suggested that the product could enhance mental or physical capabilities in breach of Code rule 3.2(j). The Panel, however, considered that the reference to the product’s high caffeine content was a necessary warning and was made in a purely factual way. The Panel also felt the name ‘Reverb’ was innocuous and did not suggest, either directly or indirectly, that the product could enhance mental or physical capabilities. Accordingly, it did not find the product in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(j).
Action by company
No action required.