Company: Cider of Sweden Ltd
Final Decision: 21 April 2016
Considered under the 5th Edition of the Code.
‘The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council believe the packaging and promotion of this product is aimed at an under 18’s. A frozen squeezy drink is similar to squeezy drinks for children. The style of packaging and fruit flavours will appeal specifically to an under 18 audience. The YAAC believes that the packaging as a frozen fruit drink will particularly appeal to children and young people under 18 as it is exactly like other products they consume that are specifically designed to appeal to under 18’s. It’s not clear its alcohol and appears similar to Capri sun products consumed by children’.
‘We wanted to take this opportunity to clarify and emphasis that our complaint is specifically about the packaging on this product. After careful consideration, the YAAC decided it was not appropriate to use this squeezable format of packaging for an alcoholic drink. Such packaging, regardless of its promotion, will particularly appeal to under 18’s – mimicking as it does, other children’s frozen squeezable products’.
Alcohol Concern’s Youth Alcohol Advertising Council
Under Code paragraph 3.1
The alcoholic nature of a drink should be communicated on its packaging with absolute clarity.
Under Code paragraph 3.2(h)
A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way have a particular appeal to under 18s.
The company’s submission
The company began by addressing the complainant’s view that it is not clear that the product is alcoholic. The company explained that the product packaging clearly states that the product is a cider product, with cider being widely known as alcoholic. The company added that the ABV strength is also clearly written along with the words ‘contains alcohol’. The company also noted that the product is only sold in the wine, beer and spirits section of the retailer which would in turn provide further evidence to potential consumers that the product is alcoholic.
In response to the complainants view that the packaging is particularly appealing to under 18’s the company advised that their packaging follows an established category format for this type of product. The company went on to explain that they decided to use dark colours for the pack design to add premium cues to the product and therefore ensure that it was more appealing to an adult target market. The company pointed out that the dark colours used are very different to that of the Capri Sun product referenced by the complainant, further ensuring that there would be confusion between the soft drink and their product.
Finally the company addressed the complainant’s view that fruit flavours are more specifically appealing to under 18s. The company said that the fruit flavours of the product are already available in their well-established standard (non-frozen) fruit cider format and are widely associated with the Kopparberg fruit cider brand. The company also explained that they purposefully added the word ‘sorbet’ to the product description to increase its appeal to an adult audience.
The Panel’s submission
The Panel considered the company’s submissions and began by discussing whether the alcoholic nature of the product was communicated with absolute clarity. The Panel noted that the word ‘cider’ and ‘contains alcohol’ were very prominent and that the ABV information was also very clear and easy to see. The Panel noted that compliance with EU directive meant the packaging could not be in breach of Code rule 3.1 and also recognised that the branding used on the packaging was exactly the same as branding used on the producers widely recognised fruit cider bottles, increasing the likelihood of the product being recognised as an alcoholic branded product. Accordingly, the Panel did not uphold the product under code rule 3.1.
When considering whether the product was more appealing to under 18s, the Panel first compared the packaging with those of soft drinks such as Capri Sun (as cited by the complainant) which have a similar packaging format. When comparing these, the Panel noted a number of significant differences. The Panel recognised that it was very clear that the product was not designed to be consumed directly from the packaging and noted that product is sold at room temperature and intended to be taken home, frozen (for at least 8 hours) and then poured into a glass for drinking. The Panel believed that this ritual would be far more appealing to an adult audience, and that the style of the packaging would make it extremely difficult to consume the product immediately, directly from the container before freezing. The Panel also noted that this ritual and method of consumption was very different to soft drinks sold in the same pouch style packaging. Capri Sun and other soft drinks that are sold in pouches usually contain a straw and straw hole and are intended for immediate consumption directly from the pouch.
The Panel concluded that the colours used on the packaging, particularly the use of black, gave the product a premium appearance which was more appealing to an adult audience. The Panel also agreed that the product lacked bright, contrasting colours that would be appealing to children and recognised that the fruit image is a naturalistic depiction of fruit (a photograph), without added luminescence which would have more appeal to an adult audience.
A general discussion followed about alcoholic drink producers adopting innovative and modern styles of packaging types previously utilised primarily by soft drink producer’s, such as 250ml cans and pouches. The Panel recognised that it was inevitable that alcoholic drink producers might adopt such packaging styles but noted that in such instances, producers should take extra care to ensure that the alcoholic nature of the product is very clear. The Panel concluded that in this instance the producer had not only communicated the alcoholic nature of the product very well but had also used other visual cues in combination, such as the colours, size and image style, to ensure that the product was more appealing to an adult audience.
Accordingly, the Panel did not uphold the product under Code rule 3.2(h).
Action by the Company