Company: Strelley Enterprises Ltd
Final Decision: 30 January 2004
Considered under the 3rd Edition of the Code.
“The names of the cocktails are very sexual orientated (sic) and we believe this does not comply with the code 3.2(d)”
“We consider the product to be particularly appealing to the under 18s as the product is very similar to slushes purchased by youths, code 3.2(g)”
The Tubular Drinks Company Ltd
Under Code paragraph 3.2(d)
A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way suggest any association with sexual success.
Under Code paragraph 3.2(g)
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 Panel’s assessment
The Panel noted the producers’ arguments that some of their products had well known cocktail names which had been in use in many countries for many years and which were available to buy in licensed premises throughout the UK. The Panel also noted, however, that cocktails mixed to order in licensed premises were not subject to The Portman Group’s Code of Practice which applied only to pre-packaged alcoholic drinks.
The Panel acknowledged that some of the flavour names in the Krush alcoholic cocktail range were either well established or widely used, albeit not necessarily for cocktails with the same ingredients. It considered, however, that 10 of the 15 flavour names in the list available on the producers’ website at the time of the complaint, namely ‘Sex on the Beach’, ‘Pink Pussy’, ‘Slow Comfortable Screw’, ‘Slippery Nipple’, ‘Screaming Orgasm’, ‘Blow Job’, ‘Blue Movie’, ‘Shag’, ‘Sensuous Suck’ and ‘Love Juice’, associated the product either directly or indirectly with sexual activity. The Panel did not accept the producers’ argument that these names did not suggest any association with sexual success, still less that shag was simply a reference to a sea bird or an American dance. The Panel considered that in view of alcohol’s potential to impair judgement and affect behaviour, to link alcohol and sexual activity in a drink’s name was undesirable because it might encourage excessive consumption as well as encourage and/or trivialise potentially harmful attitudes and behaviour. It considered that paragraph 3.2(d) of the Code was designed to prevent such marketing approaches and therefore concluded that the 10 flavour names in the Krush range that contained either a direct or indirect association with sexual success were in breach of this paragraph.
The Panel then considered whether the product had a particular appeal to under 18s. The producers argued that Krush frozen cocktails were sold only in the on-trade or to wholesalers who sold only to the on-trade, that the product was always positioned behind the bar and that the range did not appeal to under 18s because it was illegal for under 18s to purchase alcoholic drinks from licensed on-trade premises. They argued that the basic constituents of cocktails were spirits, water and crushed ice and that these did not make the product appealing to under 18s.
The Panel considered that the refrigeration units which churned and froze the cocktails were very similar to those used to dispense non-alcoholic ice slushes popular with children. It considered, however, that ice slushes had a wide appeal, and that alcoholic slushes were likely to appeal more to adults than to under 18s. It further considered that the design of the refrigeration unit labels would not appeal particularly to under 18s and noted that the range was sold exclusively in the controlled environment of the on-trade where they were less likely to be seen by children. In view of all these factors, the Panel concluded that the range did not have a particular appeal to under 18s. Hence the Panel did not find the product in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(g).
Action by company
The company agreed to consult the Portman Group’s Advisory Service for guidance on changing the problematic flavour names to comply with the Code.