A complaint by a member of the public against BuzzBallz Choc Tease, BuzzBallz Strawberry ‘Rita, and BuzzBallz Chili Mango was not upheld by the alcohol industry’s Independent Complaints Panel (ICP). A copy of the full decision is available here.
Produced by BuzzBallz LLC, the complaint was not upheld against four Code rules. In relation to these, the Panel noted:
- The packaging displayed clear positive alcohol cues to communicate the drinks’ alcoholic nature, including the alcoholic strength by volume of 13.5% (ABV), a ‘drink responsibly’ message and the word ‘cocktail’. (3.1 – alcoholic nature of the drink);
- All three products had flat bottoms which meant they could be easily set down and there were no elements on the packaging that suggested a consumer should either drink the product rapidly or ‘down’ it in one (3.2(g) – rapid drinking);
- The overall appearance and colour schemes of the products were not considered to have a particular appeal to under 18s (3.2(h) – particular appeal to under-18s);
- There was nothing on the products which suggested the drink could change a consumer’s mood or behaviour or that consumption would generate a ‘buzz’. The Panel considered that ‘buzz’, in the specific context of the packaging, while close to the line of acceptability, did not breach the Code (3.2(j) – therapeutic qualities).
Commenting on the decision, the Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, Nicola Williams, said: “Alcohol brands must be conscious of their overall brand identity and name, and how these elements contribute to the individual product’s overall impression. This decision demonstrates that brands can innovate in a responsible manner and be mindful of the Code rules while standing out on-shelf.”
BuzzBallz was invited to comment and said “BuzzBallz, LLC is pleased with the ruling as we are meticulous in our packaging, marketing, and sales efforts to uphold the alcohol rules, laws, and standards in the UK, USA, and across the world. Responsible consumption by consumers of the legal drinking age is an important message and one we take seriously.”
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