A complaint against BrewDog’s ‘Wingman’ beer has not been upheld by the alcohol industry’s Independent Complaint Panel (ICP). The full decision can be read here.

The complaint, received from a member of the public, raised concerns about the beer’s cartoon style packaging under Code rule 3.2(h) which states that a product should not have a particular appeal to under-18’s. The complaint was not upheld.

The Panel assessed the packaging and noted that it included a prominent large design of a cartoon anthropomorphised bird on the front of the can. The Panel considered that while anthropomorphised animals could have a particular appeal to under-18s, the character in this case had a stern, unfriendly expression that contrasted with anthropomorphised animals which usually appeared in children’s media. The Panel noted that the character design was complex, with the bird dressed as a military pilot with elements such as facial tattoos which ensured the character appeared more adult in nature.

After assessing the packaging in its entirety, the Panel considered that while the style was cartoon-like and the character was the dominant theme, on balance, the design was retro in style, mature and reasonably complex. The Panel concluded that while the design may have a level of appeal to children, it did not constitute a particular appeal to under-18s and did not uphold the complaint under Code rule 3.2(h).

The Panel also considered the product under three other Code rules, including whether the product communicated it’s alcoholic nature with absolute clarity, but found no breach of the Code.

Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel Rachel Childs said: “It’s absolutely vital under the Code of Practice that producers take care to ensure their alcohol products don’t have particular appeal to under-18s. In this case, while the packaging was cartoon-like and the character was the dominant theme, it was clear from the overall impression of the product that it did not have a particular appeal to children.”