Company: Soho Drinks Limited
Breach: Yes
Final Decision: 16 August 2002

Considered under the 2nd Edition of the Code.

Complaint summary

All three complainants believed that the name “Crack Ice” suggested an association with the illicit drug, crack cocaine. In the view of two complainants, this association was reinforced by the word ‘buzz’ on the front label.


Member of the public, London.

Member of the public, London.

Member of the public, Bristol.


Under Code paragraph 3.1(d)

The brand name, product descriptor, packaging (including any containers and any external wrapping), labelling and point of sale materials of any alcoholic drink should not in any direct or indirect way suggest any association with, acceptance of, or allusion to illicit drugs.


The Panel’s assessment

The Panel considered that the word “crack” could convey a number of different meanings. The Panel noted that “crack” was widely used in Ireland, meaning fun or entertainment but that another meaning of the word was “crack cocaine”. In the Panel’s view, even if the word “cocaine” did not follow the word “crack”, the word “crack” could of itself convey the meaning “crack cocaine”. The wording of the Code indicated that there should be no association with illicit drugs. In this instance, the Panel decided that the word “crack”, taken together with the words “buzz” and “illicit” which appeared on the front and rear of the product, suggested an association, whether or not such an association was intended, with the illegal drug crack cocaine in contravention of Code paragraph 3.1(d).

Hence, the Panel upheld the complaint under paragraph 3.1(d) of the Code.

The Panel carefully considered the company’s response to the provisional decision but were not persuaded by the arguments raised.

Action by company

The company has stated its intention to amend the product’s packaging in consultation with The Portman Group’s Pre-Launch Advisory Service to make it compliant with the Code.