Company: Poison Distribution
Breach: Yes
Final Decision: 21 June 2012

Considered under the 4th Edition of the Code.

Complaint Summary

We would wish to complain to the Group about the packaging of the product Dr von Hyde’s Herbal Liqueur….We submit that DR von Hyde is not in compliance with the Portman Group’s Packaging Code section 3.2j in that the use of the term Dr on the label implies that the product could enhance mental or physical capabilities.

We would further support the complaint by observing trade presentation/promotional document, circulated to the trade, uses such medical references as: 

  1. “Things will just feel better”
  2. “Cure for all”
  3. “A healer”
  4. ‘The Doktor could cure their ills”
  5. “a potion”
  6. “healthy profits”
  7. “Medication for the masses”
  8. “For top patients only”
  9. “The Doktor will be on his rounds”
  10. “Potions, Preparations and Cures”
  11. “Doktor’s orders” 

We believe that branding of this nature is simply irresponsible. 


Cellar Trends


Under Code paragraph 3.2(j)

A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way suggest that the product can enhance mental or physical capabilities

UPHELD (promotional material only)

The company strongly denied the suggestion that the product was marketed as a food or something that could enhance physical or mental capabilities. The company asserted that the product was formulated from a carefully crafted and refined recipe based on the traditional German liqueur. The company explained that throughout the development process of the product it had worked closely with the Portman Group Advisory Service and made changes to the product packaging in accordance with the advice received.  It went on to say that ‘Dr’ was commonly used without any misconception of enhancing powers and cited ‘Dr Pepper’ as a universally known and accepted product name which consumers did not associate with medical connotations.

The company said that the tone of the promotional material, and the fact that ‘doctor’ had been spelt with the letter ‘k’, emphasised the context of the material and that the tone would appeal to the trade, who the material was aimed at. The promotional material incorporated well-known phrases such as ‘healthy profits’ which it maintained obviously referred to potential profit margins for retailers.
The Panel first considered whether the product name and packaging suggested any suggestion of enhancement of mental or physical capabilities. While acknowledging that the product was a herbal liqueur, and the name incorporated the abbreviation ‘Dr’, it considered that these elements did not seek to position the product as a medicine. It, accordingly, did not find the product in breach of Code paragraph3.2(j).

The Panel then considered the content of the promotional material. It concluded that claims, for example, such as ‘cure for all’‘for top patients only’ and ‘potions, preparations and cures’ did position the product as a medicine and, accordingly, it found the promotional material in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(j).

Action by Company

The company agreed to work closely with the Advisory Service to amend the promotional material.