Company: Laverstoke Park Farm Ltd
Final Decision: 17 September 2012
Considered under the 4th Edition of the Code.
“I was very surprised to see a Laverstoke Park Farm alcoholic drink for sale in one of the major super stores. The childish nature and colouring of the products label and logo can be misconstrued and appeal to under 18’s. Your attention to this matter and conclusion is appreciated as I believe it is in breach of the Code”.
Member of the public.
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 explained that it specialised in the production of healthy food and the range included meat, dairy products soft drinks and lager and ale. The generic brand image of a farmer, ‘Mr Laverstoke’, which it said features on all its produce, had been in use over the past ten years.
The company went on to explain that they created an image which had visual impact and which represented its key message of ethical food production; over the years a range of ‘Mr Laverstoke’ illustrations had been used on different products. The company had consciously used old style font as widely used on other traditional packaging as opposed to using a font which was more typical of products aimed at children.
The company felt that all the messaging on the labels should be taken into consideration when judging whether the ale and lager had a particular appeal to under-18s. It felt, taken in combination, the colour, language and layout of the label created an adult, joyful and honest feel to the products.
The Panel’s assessment
The Panel acknowledged that the company had not deliberately set out to make its alcoholic products appeal to under-18s but, nonetheless, considered that while the image of ‘Mr Laverstoke’ was fine on the non-alcoholic range of products, it was not appropriate for use on their alcoholic products and it could cause confusion for the consumer. The Panel felt the image looked like a child’s drawing and whilst it would be unlikely to appeal to older children; it would be likely to have a particular appeal to younger children. Accordingly, it found the packaging of both the lager and ale to be in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(h).
Action by company
The company decided not to work with the Portman Group advisory service to amend their product in line with the Panel’s ruling. Therefore, the Retailer Alert Bulletin below was issued.