A complaint made against Fynoderee Manx Bumbee vodka has not been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel. A full copy of the decision can be read here.

The complainant, Kella Distillers, complained that the name of the product, which it believed derived from a children’s fairytale, and the labelling, which it asserted featured a stylised cartoon image of a bumblebee, and the font, appealed to under-18s.

In its assessment, the Panel first considered whether there was a link to a children’s fairytale. The Panel noted that the product was based on a folklore story, which is different to a child’s fairytale, and that the folklore tale was not well known. The Panel also acknowledged that through additional research, it understood the word ‘Fynoderee’ was now more strongly associated with the company’s product range than a folklore tale. Furthermore, the Panel clarified that folklore stories did not hold the same particular appeal to children as classic fairytales do.

The Panel then considered the font used. The Panel could find no similarity with typical youth-oriented font styles and noted that the word ‘Vodka’ was displayed in large text to provide clarity on the contents of the product.  The Panel also believed that the characteristics of the ‘Bumbee’ (human bee) character were reminiscent of 1940’s style pinup designs and had a mature theme.

The Panel then considered the overall impression conveyed by the product. The Panel concluded that, though the design was whimsical it was mature in design, the illustration was adult in style and not reminiscent of a classic fairy tale. Accordingly, the Panel concluded the product was not in breach of Code rule 3.2(h) which states that a drink, its packaging and any promotional material should not in any direct or indirect way have a particular appeal to under-18s.

John Timothy, Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, said:

“In this case the Panel were satisfied that the design was suitably mature and so wouldn’t appeal to under 18’s. Our advisory service is always here to offer free and impartial advice to producers at any stage of the design process.”

A spokesperson for The Fynoderee Distillery said:

“We take great pride in the quality and sophistication of our branding across all product lines and have thorough regard for the Portman rules in all our marketing endeavours.  We were surprised by the nature of this complaint and are grateful to The Independent Complaints Panel for thoroughly researching the background to our unique Manx folklore inspired identity and backstory and ultimately conclusively dismissing this complaint against Fynoderee Manx Bumbee Vodka.”