Pirate’s Grog Rum
‘This can’t be allowed? Sex Toys with alcohol’
Member of the public
Under Code paragraph 3.2(d)
3.2(d) A drink, it’s 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(j)
3.2(j) A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way suggest that the product has therapeutic qualities, can enhance mental or physical capabilities, or change mood or behaviour.
The company’s submission:
The company stated that the Love Potion No 9 Gift Pack had been removed from sale and it was this item which had been subject to complaint rather than the packaging of Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum. The company stated that since release, it had not received a complaint about the drinks packaging.
The company explained that the audience for the drink was discerning adults who would not make a connection between the phrase ‘Love Potion No.9’ and sex. The company added that the name Love Potion No.9 was a famous song from the 1950s
which did not include references to sexual activity or sexual success.
The company stated that it was incorrect to equate the words love and sex to mean the same things, and that the drink would not cause issues for the adult consumers it was targeted at.
The Panel’s assessment
During the Informal Resolution consideration stage, the Panel Chair raised concerns about the product name and back label text of Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum under the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks. The Chair therefore ruled that the packaging and the gift pack should both be considered separately by the Panel.
Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum
The Panel discussed the packaging of Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum to determine whether it created any association with sexual success or sexual activity. The Panel considered the product name Love Potion No.9 and noted that love potions were typically depicted in popular culture as creating feelings of love but that this element alone did not necessarily create an association with sexual activity.
When assessing the back label, the Panel noted that it included text which read ‘Love Potion No.9 entice your pirate lover with shimmering lust dust’ and ‘a proven aphrodisiac… let the fireworks begin!’.
The Panel considered that referring to the drink as a means to entice a romantic partner, or as a substance alleged to increase sexual desire, created a direct association between the drink and sexual activity as well as sexual success. Accordingly, the Panel found the packaging in breach of Code rule 3.2(d).
In light of the decision under Code rule 3.2(d), the Panel considered whether there was merit in discussing whether there was anything on the packaging which suggested the drink had therapeutic qualities, could enhance physical or mental capabilities, or change mood or behaviour.
The Panel discussed the product name Love Potion No. 9 and considered that love potions were generally understood by the average consumer to be potions which invoked intense feelings of love, attraction, and sometimes obsession in the recipient. The Panel therefore considered that the name alone suggested that consumption of the drink could change a person’s mood and behaviour by creating feelings of love and romance.
The Panel assessed the overall impression of the packaging and noted that the front label included a heart and cross image in the style of a skull and crossbones, thereby combining the association of a warning and recognised medicinal logo.
The Panel also noted that the back label text included the line ‘a proven aphrodisiac’ which suggested that the drink could create sexual feelings and therefore change an individual’s mood and behaviour. Taking all of these elements into account, in the context of a ‘love potion’, the Panel concluded that the name and packaging of Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum directly suggested the drink could provide therapeutic qualities and change mood or behaviour. Accordingly, the Panel found the name and packaging in breach of Code rule 3.2(j).
Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Gift Pack
The Panel then assessed the Pirate’s Grog Love Potion No.9 Gift Pack which had been the original subject of complaint and included a copy of the Kama Sutra and a Durex Intense Vibe Ring. The Panel considered that the inclusion of the Kama Sutra, a well-known book related to the depiction of sexual positions, and a sex toy in a gift pack with alcohol was wholly inappropriate under the Code. The Panel concluded that the combination of items in the gift pack, including the product packaging of Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum, created a direct association with sexual success and sexual activity. Accordingly, the complaint was upheld under Code rule 3.2(d).
As the Love Potion No.9 Spiced Rum bottle was also included in the gift pack, the Panel considered whether the concerns raised regarding the name packaging of Love Potion No. 9 Spiced Rum under Code rule 3.2(j) would apply to the gift pack, as the drink formed part of it. The Panel concluded that the same rationale would apply to the gift pack as its overall impression included the drinks packaging which directly suggested it could provide therapeutic qualities and change mood or behaviour for the reasons stated above. Accordingly, the gift pack was also found in breach of Code rule 3.2(j).
Action by Company:
The company has now agreed to change the name and packaging of Love Potion No.9 rum.