Company: Charles Wells Ltd
Breach: Yes
Final Decision: 17 September 2004

Considered under the 3rd Edition of the Code.

Complaint summary

“The Muse Cocktail pre-packaged drink ‘Sex on the Beach’ contravenes section 3.2(d).”


Strelley Enterprises 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.


The Panel’s assessment

The producers explained that the product was one of six alcoholic cocktail concentrates in the Muse range, all of which were well established and recognised cocktail names.  They asserted that ‘Sex on the Beach’ was one of the most popular cocktails in the world and had no association with sexual success. They pointed out that the Muse brand was mainly marketed to the trade and said that in many cases, ‘Muse – Sex on the Beach’ was sold unbranded to consumers and simply presented as the retailer’s own ‘Sex on the Beach’ cocktail.    

The Panel noted the producers’ arguments, particularly that fact that the product was not sold in bottles directly to the consumer and that it would sometimes be sold unbranded to consumers. The Panel considered that the product was, nevertheless, a pre-packaged alcoholic drink that consumers could order by brand name and noted that the Muse brand was supported by point of sale material such as branded jugs, glasses and menu cards.

The Panel considered that in view of alcohol’s potential to impair judgement and affect behaviour, to link indirectly alcohol and sexual activity in a drink’s name was undesirable because it might encourage and/or trivialise excessive consumption and potentially harmful attitudes and behaviour.  It considered that Code paragraph 3.2(d) was designed to prevent such marketing approaches and concluded that although the cocktail name ‘Sex on the Beach’ was well known and widely used, it nevertheless contained either a direct or indirect association with sexual success in breach of this paragraph.

Action by company

The company agreed to liaise with the Advisory Service for guidance on changing the product name in order to comply with the Code.