Company: J Wray & Nephew (Jamaica) on behalf of Lascelles Ltd
Imported by: Flying Trade Ltd
Final Decision: 7 February 2012
Considered under the 4th Edition of the Code.
“I wish to complain about the above product which is on sale in Tesco branches throughout London, and possibly elsewhere in the UK, where there is a Caribbean population. As a Jamaican I am familiar with this product’s association with the dancehall culture in its country of origin. It is sold as a product enhancing sexual attraction and prowess. It is my understanding that in the UK that alcoholic drinks should not be advertised as improving attractiveness or enhancing sexual allure nor to be pitched at a very youthful demographic. The label makes a very direct and crude association with sex. The explicit image has been covered by white sticky labels on the shelves in the UK. It is my contention that this label does not comply with the restriction on advertisements for alcohol not to portray increased attractiveness and sexual allure”
Member of the public
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 activity or sexual success.
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.
Under Code paragraph 3.2(j)
A drink, its packaging or promotion should not suggest that the product has therapeutic qualities or can enhance mental or physical capabilities.
The company’s submission
J Wray & Nephew UK Ltd explained it was the exclusive importer of products from the parent company in Jamaica J Wray & Nephew Ltd. It further explained that Magnum Tonic Wine was produced by JWN Jamaica on behalf of the brand owner and related company Lascelles Ltd. J Wray & Nephew UK Ltd asserted that it never had and never would import Magnum Tonic Wine into the UK market in its current format. The company further stated that J Wray & Nephew Jamaica (including Lascelles Ltd) never had and never would knowingly export Magnum Tonic Wine to the UK market.
They asserted that the Magnum Tonic Wine appearing on the shelf in Tesco did not come directly from J Wray & Nephew or any related company. They assumed the product was being imported into the UK by an independent third party over which the company had no control. Tesco Stores Ltd confirmed that the product was sourced from a third-party supplier, Flying Trade Ltd, who did not respond to the complaint. Tesco also confirmed that when the matter was brought to its attention it withdrew the product from sale and further delisted the product from its product range.
The Panel’s assessment
The Panel acknowledged that the company J Wray & Nephew had not imported the product into the UK and had, itself, acknowledged that the product was inappropriate for distribution in the UK. Nonetheless it considered that the product packaging featured an image of a naked couple embracing and a reference to Vigorton, a vitamin ingredient known for improving stamina. The Panel felt the image of the couple in combination with the product name and the reference to Vigorton associated the brand with sexual success and enhancement of sexual capabilities. Accordingly, it found the product to be in breach of Code paragraphs 3.2(d) and 3.2(j).
The Panel then considered whether the product had a particular appeal to under-18s. Overall, it considered that the packaging was unlikely to appeal particularly to under-18s and it accordingly did not find the product in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(h).
Action by Company
The company asserted that it would continue in its Portman Group responsibility policy of not importing into the UK the product in its current packaging.