Company: Fun Drinks (UK) Ltd
Final Decision: 25 February 2004
Considered under the 3rd Edition of the Code.
“There is a product advertised called “Quickie”, which contravenes code 3.2(d) “sexual success”
“…its outer packaging in sweet jars is likely to appeal to under 18s; …the styling of the wording is cartoon-like.”
The Union Pub Company
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.
Under Code paragraph 3.2(f)
A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way encourage illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as binge-drinking, drunkenness or drink-driving.
Under Code paragraph 3.2(g)
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.
The Panel’s assessment
The Panel first considered whether the product name suggested any association with sexual success. The Panel noted the producers’ argument that they had named the drink ‘Quickie’ not because of any alleged sexual reason but because they believed it was a well recognised term for a shot drink. The Panel also noted that in rejecting the producers’ trademark application, the Patent Office had stated that it considered ‘quickie’ was a recognised term for an alcoholic drink which is usually consumed speedily without any ceremony or conversation. The Panel further noted the Oxford Modern English Dictionary definition of ‘quickie’ supplied by the producer and acknowledged that one interpretation of the term was a swift drink.
It considered, however, that ‘quickie’ was also a commonly used slang reference to spontaneous and brief sexual intercourse. The Panel considered that in view of alcohol’s potential to impair judgement and affect behaviour, to link alcohol and sexual activity in a drink’s name was undesirable because it might encourage excessive consumption as well as encourage and/or trivialise potentially harmful attitudes and behaviour. It considered that Code paragraph 3.2(d) was designed to prevent such marketing approaches and concluded that the name of the product suggested an association with sexual success and was therefore in breach of this paragraph.
The Panel then considered whether the product was likely to encourage irresponsible or immoderate consumption. Although it acknowledged that one interpretation of the word ’quickie’ was a swift drink, the Panel concluded that no feature of the product’s naming, labelling or packaging was likely to encourage irresponsible or immoderate consumption. Hence, the Panel did not find the product in breach of Code paragraph 3.1(f).
The Panel finally considered whether the product had a particular appeal to under 18s. The Panel noted the producers’ argument that the product was intended for sale only in the controlled environment of the on-trade where it was less likely to be seen by children. The Panel considered, however, that although the product was not intended for sale through the off-trade, the producers could not guarantee this once the product had been sold to a third party. The Panel further considered that even if the product were available only through the on-trade, it could still be seen by, and appeal to, under 18s. The Panel nevertheless concluded that no elements of the individual containers or the plastic jar that contained them had a particular appeal to under 18s. Hence, the Panel did not find the product in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(g).
Action by company
The company agreed to consult the Portman Group’s Advisory Service for guidance on changing the product name to comply with the Code.