A complaint by a member of the public against Engine Organic Gin was upheld by the alcohol industry’s Independent Complaints Panel (Panel) for suggesting consumption of the drink could change a consumer’s mood and had a therapeutic quality. A copy of the full decision is available here.
The drink is produced by Engine S.r.l and distributed in the UK by Disaronno. The Panel stated that the wording on the back label which read ‘sage and lemon is a traditional remedy to cure a sour mood’ suggested that consumption of the drink could ‘cure’ a consumer’s bad mood. Furthermore, the Panel was concerned the suggestion of a ‘cure’ could directly appeal to those with poor mental health who may be more susceptible to substance misuse. When considered alongside the wording ‘fuel the dream’ on the front label, the Panel considered that these combined elements suggested that the drink had a therapeutic quality and upheld the complaint under Code rule 3.2(j).
Commenting on the decision, the Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, Nicola Williams, said: “Linking alcohol with improving a consumer’s mood is a clear infringement of the Code and alcohol producers should not suggest their drink has therapeutic qualities. Producers should carefully consider every aspect of a product’s marketing and packaging to ensure such suggestions are avoided.”
The complaint was not upheld under four other Code rules that read as: the alcoholic nature of a drink should be communicated on its packaging with absolute clarity – 3.1; should not suggest consumption can lead to social success or popularity – 3.2(e); should not encourage illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as drink-driving, binge-drinking or drunkenness – 3.2(f); and should not have a particular appeal to under-18s – 3.2(h).
The Panel noted:
- There were numerous positive alcohol cues presented clearly on both the front and back label which sufficiently communicated the drink’s alcoholic nature with absolute clarity (3.1);
- There were no elements on the label which suggested consumption of the gin would make a consumer more popular, or contribute towards social success (3.2(e));
- While the packaging was in the style of a 1970’s era motor vehicle engine oil can, there was nothing which directly or indirectly encouraged a consumer to drink irresponsibly (3.2(f));
- The packaging was not found to have a particular appeal to under-18s (3.2(h)).