“Cartoon-style imagery, childish fonts, bright colouring, personalities that are particularly admired by under-18s, pictures of real or fictional people known to children or terminology popular with children should not be featured”.
Member of the public
Under Code paragraph 3.2(h) A drink, its packaging or promotion should not have a particular appeal to under-18s (in the case of sponsorship, those under 18 years of age should not comprise more than 25% of the participants, audience or spectators)
The company’s submission
The company stated that it took all consumer complaints very seriously. The company stated that after carrying out internal due diligence on the product, it had concluded that the product potentially breached Code rule 3.2(h). The company explained that it had discontinued the product with immediate effect (18th May 2021). The company stated that in the future it would endeavour to carry out its own internal due diligence and work with the Portman Group’s Advisory Service, when necessary, prior to launching any new products on the market.
The Panel’s assessment
The Panel noted that the company had decided to withdraw the No Capes packaging with immediate effect, because the company believed it potentially breached Code rule 3.2(h) and welcomed its decision to do so.
The Panel nonetheless discussed whether the packaging was in breach of Code rule 3.2(h). The Panel considered the artwork on the front and back of the can. The Panel observed that the cartoon imagery was reminiscent of comic book strips and superhero movies. The Panel discussed the appeal of these images to those under-18 years of age. The Panel considered that such themes and similar comic book style illustrations had broad appeal to both adults and under-18s but could, in some contexts, have a particular appeal to under-18s.
The Panel analysed the overall impression conveyed by the product and noted that the narrative portrayed the misadventures of various superheroes on both sides of the can. The Panel noted that one side of the can featured cartoon imagery which portrayed a superhero getting their cape caught in an airplane engine, another caught in a car door with their trousers falling down and another being sucked into a tornado. The Panel noted that the other side of the can featured various superheroes in similar states of peril with one superhero’s cape being caught by a shark, another stuck in a series of cogs and one superhero with a looming green hand behind it. The Panel discussed the comic book strip nature of the illustrations and considered that the childish humour enhanced the illustrations’ particular appeal to under-18s.
The Panel noted that the can featured the company’s corporate logo, a drawing of a stuffed bear, next to the product description on the front of the can. The Panel discussed the two previous precedents where it had had discussed the bear logo as part of a complaint consideration: namely the Cwtch (2017) and Cwtch (2019) decisions. The Panel noted that on both occasions Cwtch was found to be in breach of the Code and that the bear logo had been a contributary factor in creating a particular appeal to under-18s when considered alongside the design of a bubble font and bright primary colours.
The Panel acknowledged that the bear was the producer’s corporate logo and considered that it did not necessarily breach the Code, in itself, but that it had the potential to appeal to under-18s depending on its size, presentation and contextual appearance.
The Panel stated that, as always, it was imperative to consider the overall impression of the product and that the impact of the bear logo depended on its size and context, including the presence of other design elements that may have a particular appeal to under-18s and/or a design that focused attention on the bear.
The Panel carefully considered whether the bear logo was an element creating particular appeal to under-18s in the context of the No Capes can. The Panel noted that the immature nature of the cartoon illustrations were likely to have a particular appeal to under-18s and this appeal was only enhanced when considered alongside the bear logo and accordingly upheld the complaint under Code rule 3.2(h).
Action by Company:
Product has been discontinued by the company.