Some Young Punks
Matthew Clark Bibendum Ltd
‘‘Quickie by Young Punks, easily found on Google. For sale in Home Bargains stores and from wine merchants. Beer pump clips like this were eliminated some time ago, and just because this is wine, it shouldn’t be any different. This objectifying, sexual branding is outdated and offensive. Also “quickie” could be seen as encouraging fast consumption of the wine”.
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(g):
A drink, its packaging and any promotional material should not in any direct or indirect way urge the consumer to drink rapidly or to ‘down’ a product in one.
Under Code paragraph 3.3:
A drink’s name, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not cause serious or widespread offence.
The company’s submission
In response to the complainant’s claim that the product did not comply with rule 3.2(d) of the Code, the company stated that the packaging for Quickie was a modified iteration of the 1950 novel ‘Quickie!’. The company explained that this was an illustrated novel by an author named Gerald Foster, that depicted a woman dressed in a well-covered negligee and a man dressed in a suit. The company stated that the people illustrated on the bottle were stylised in what could be classified as ‘retro’ pulp fiction images. The company emphasised the point that it was a 50’s style illustration that was depicted in a light-hearted manner. The company further stated that the name ‘Quickie’ and associated verbiage could not reasonably be taken to suggest or encourage unwanted sexual advantages, not only in line with the colloquial expression, but also due to the fact that the woman’s name was clearly depicted as Quickie!. The company highlighted the phrase printed on the front of the label which stated ‘when there’s no time to think. There’s more time for love’ and explained that it did not promote sexual success as it was a light-hearted quip which was relevant in the context of the novel illustrations of the period. The company stated that it was of the view that there was nothing that showed that consumption of the wine led to sexual success in the pulp novel illustration.
In response to the complainant’s claim that the product did not comply with rule 3.2(g) of the Code, the company stated that as the imagery was devoid of the inclusion of alcohol it was not reasonable to draw a parallel between the title of the wine and rapid consumption.
In response to the complainant’s claim that the product did not comply with rule 3.3 of the Code, the company reiterated that the image was one that adorned a Pulp Fiction novel cover in 1950. The company stated that the imagery was not an actual picture, but an illustration that did not represent actual behaviour. The company stated that although the illustration depicted the possibility of a romantic situation, with a man in a suit and a woman fastening or unfastening her stocking, there was no suggestion alcohol had contributed to or heightened the interaction. The company acknowledged that there could be mild confusion about the label but emphasised that the tone and era of the label were correct and information about the background of the label was clearly explained on its website.
The company advised that it had discontinued the brand and packaging in 2018. The company explained that it was a small independent wine brand based in Clare, South Australia and that it acted vigilantly in regard to its marketing and would never intentionally breach the Code.
The importer’s submission
The importer confirmed that it was the sole distributor of the product in the UK but did not hold the UK brand rights for it which remained with the producer, Some Young Punks.
The importer stated that it accepted that the product may not comply with rule 3.2(d). However, it did not believe that the product was in breach of rule 3.2(g) or rule 3.3. The importer explained that the company had advised that the branding was inspired by a pulp fiction novel called Quickie! and did not reference rapid consumption of a drink. The importer acknowledged that the brand name could be misconstrued if not viewed in the context of the original pulp fiction inspiration.
The importer confirmed that the product had been sold in the UK for the past three years and it had not received any other complaints related to the branding which suggested that it had not caused serious or widespread offence.
The importer also confirmed that the product had been discontinued and was therefore no longer in production.
The importer confirmed that it had shared the Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks with its buying team and technical team to ensure that the teams understood the requirements of the Code of Practice. The importer stated that it took issues of this nature seriously and understood the importance of responsible marketing of alcoholic drinks.
The Panel’s assessment
Code rule 3.2 (d)
The Panel first discussed whether the packaging had directly or indirectly suggested any association with sexual activity or sexual success. The Panel discussed the company’s response and explanation for the use of the brand imagery and name. The Panel considered the imagery on the front of the product and the overall impression conveyed by the product packaging. The Panel discussed the illustration on the front of the bottle, which depicted a woman in a state of undress on a bed whilst looking back to a man dressed in a suit which suggested that a sexual encounter was imminent or had already occurred. The Panel noted that the image depicted the woman in a highly sexualised manner. The Panel was also concerned about the imagery used in conjunction with the phrase ‘When there’s no time to think, there is time for love’, which when considered alongside the imagery, further linked the product to sexual behaviour. The Panel discussed the product name ‘’Quickie!’ and agreed that the use of the name in combination with the illustration and additional phrase, ‘Oh, what a gal was Quickie’, created a direct link to sexual activity. The Panel considered that the imagery, brand name and phrases on the packaging created a direct link to sexual activity and therefore concluded that the packaging breached rule 3.2(d).
Code rule 3.2 (g)
The Panel then discussed whether the packaging was in breach of rule 3.2(g). The Panel considered the complainant’s concern that the name ‘Quickie!’ encouraged fast consumption of the wine. The Panel discussed the name in isolation and agreed that it could be problematic when used on an alcoholic drink. However, the Panel noted that in this instance, the word ‘Quickie!’ had been used as a reference to sexual activity and that there was nothing else on the product packaging that encouraged rapid consumption of the product, either directly or indirectly. Based on the overall impression conveyed by the product, the Panel concluded that the packaging did not breach rule 3.2(g) but urged producers to think carefully when using such language on an alcoholic product.
Code rule 3.3
The Panel discussed whether the packaging caused serious or widespread offence. The Panel discussed the need to distinguish whether the overall impression conveyed was distasteful or whether it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. The Panel considered the illustration on the front of the bottle and its depiction of the female and male characters. The Panel noted that the image of the woman was featured prominently on the packaging and placed unnecessary focus on the woman’s body in a sexualised manner. The Panel was concerned about the gratuitous use of the female form and considered that the imagery was problematic for its objectification of the woman based on her gender and sex. The Panel was also concerned that the illustration depicted a power imbalance between the female and the male and endorsed negative gender stereotyping by portraying the woman in a demeaning sexualised state of undress on a bed while the man appeared standing up in a suit. The Panel considered the company’s submission but concluded that the explanation was not sufficient to justify the use of product name, imagery and language used on the product. The Panel considered that the gratuitous, sexualised image of the woman was objectifying and demeaning to women and caused serious offence based on gender and sex. The Panel therefore concluded that the packaging was in breach of rule 3.3.
Action by Company:
Product is no longer being produced