- A spiced rum gift pack containing a sex toy and a copy of the Kama Sutra has been discontinued after a complaint was received and then upheld by the alcohol industry’s Independent Complaints Panel (ICP).
- The product name ‘Love Potion’ was also found to be in breach as well as its label text which claimed the product was a ‘proven aphrodisiac’, and told consumers to “entice your pirate lover with shimmering lust dust’.
Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum and gift pack were upheld under two Code rules as they were found to create a direct association with sexual activity and sexual success under Code rule 3.2(d), and suggested they had therapeutic qualities which could change mood or behaviour under Code rule 3.2(j).
The complaint, made by Identity Drinks Brand, against the gift pack, read: “This can’t be allowed? Sex Toys with alcohol”.
During the Informal Resolution consideration stage, the Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) raised concerns about the product name and back label text of Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum, and therefore ruled that the packaging and the gift pack should both be considered by the Panel.
In response to the Panel’s Provisional Decision, the company accepted the Panel’s findings regarding the Love Potion No.9 Gift Pack and confirmed it had been discontinued.
A copy of the Panel’s full decision is available here.
Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum
When assessing the back label, the Panel noted that it included text which read ‘Love Potion No.9 entice your pirate lover with shimmering lust dust’ and ‘a proven aphrodisiac… let the fireworks begin!’. The Panel considered that referring to the drink as a means to entice a romantic partner, or as a substance alleged to increase sexual desire, created a direct association between the drink and sexual activity as well as sexual success.
The Panel discussed the company’s response to the provisional decision, in particular the producer’s assertion that wild cherries were considered to be an aphrodisiac and that it was not against guidelines to describe the ingredients in a drink. The Panel acknowledged that referring to an ingredient in the drink, such as wild cherries, was acceptable, however by stating its aphrodisiac effect it implied that the drink could increase sexual desire.
Accordingly, the Panel found the packaging in breach of Code rule 3.2(d).
The Panel considered that the product name Love Potion No. 9 alone suggested that consumption of the drink could change a person’s mood and behaviour by creating feelings of love and romance.
The Panel assessed the overall impression of the packaging and noted that the front label included a heart and cross image in the style of a skull and crossbones, combining the association of a warning and recognised medicinal logo. The Panel assessed the back label text which stated a “proven aphrodisiac” which suggested the drink could create sexual feelings and therefor change an individual’s mood and behaviour. Therefore, they also found the packaging in breach of Code rule 3.2(j).
Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Gift Pack
The Panel considered that the inclusion of the Kama Sutra, a well-known book related to the depiction of sexual positions, and a sex toy in a gift pack with alcohol was wholly inappropriate under the Code. The Panel concluded that the combination of items in the gift pack, in addition to the product packaging of Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum, created a direct association with sexual success and sexual activity. Accordingly, the complaint was upheld under Code rule 3.2(d).
As the Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum bottle was also included in the gift pack, the Panel considered whether the concerns raised regarding the name packaging of Love Potion No. 9 Spiced Rum under Code rule 3.2(j) would also apply to the gift pack, as the drink formed part of it. The Panel concluded that the same rationale would apply as its overall impression included the drink’s packaging. Accordingly, the gift pack was also found in breach of Code rule 3.2(j).
The company has now agreed to change the name and packaging of Love Potion No.9 rum.
Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel Rachel Childs said: “It is wholly and unquestionably inappropriate for an alcohol product to come packaged with a copy of the Kama Sutra and a sex toy, which the Panel unanimously agreed creates a clear association with sexual success and activity.
“I welcome that the gift pack was removed from the market as part of the producer’s response, and that, through the Portman Group’s subsequent engagement with the producer, they have now agreed to change both the name and packaging of Love Potion No.9 rum to reflect the decision of the Panel.
“It is absolutely vital that producers take into account the Code and ensure alcohol products don’t create any implication that they will assist consumers in sexual success. I would encourage any producers who may be unsure to contact our free and confidential Advisory Service.”