A complaint made against Desperados has not been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel.) A full copy of the decision can be read here.

The complainant, a member of the public, believed that the sale of Heineken’s Desperados in a 250 ml can could appeal to under 18s due to it being in the same size can as energy drinks. The complainant also believed that the size of the can could mean that the product could be downed in one.

The Panel first considered whether the product had a particular appeal to under-18s. The Panel noted that the 250ml can size did not have a traditional association with soft drinks, and the size of the can alone did not necessarily lead the product to be problematic under the Code. The Panel considered the other elements of the can’s design and noted that the colour palette, although it contained bright and contrasting colours, had a mature theme. The Panel also considered that the language used provided clarity around its alcoholic content.  Accordingly, the Panel did not find the product in breach of Code rule 3.2(h).

The Panel then considered if the product directly or indirectly urged the consumer to drink rapidly or down the contents in one. The Panel noted that the can did not feature any text or other instruction that the contents should be downed-in-one. The Panel was also clear that a smaller ‘one serve’ container was different to encouraging a ‘rapid or down in one’ message. Accordingly, the Panel did not find the product in breach of Code rule 3.2(g).

Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, John Timothy, commented: “This decision highlights that can size alone doesn’t constitute a breach of the rules. The Panel will consider the overall impression and messaging on the packaging and design of the product.”