Company: Redruth Brewery Limited
Final Decision: 30 September 1997
Considered under the 1st Edition of the Code
“The name and packaging of this product suggests sexual success or prowess”.
The Portman Group
Under Code paragraph 2.1(f)
Brand names and product descriptors should not suggest sexual success or prowess.
Under Code paragraph 3(8)
Packaging and point of sale materials should not predominantly appeal to under 18s.
The Panel noted the following dictionary definitions: ‘SCREAMING’ (US Black use) fantastic, amazing, extreme; ‘SCREAM’: ‘To speak, shout or behave in a wild or impassioned manner’; be blatantly obvious or conspicuous’; ‘BEAVER’: ‘the female genitals; from the slang meaning ‘a beard’, and thence the pubic hair’; a beaver-shot is ‘a photograph which shows the exposed genitals’; ‘Vagine’: ‘esp. in commcercial pornography use’.
The Company itself in its press release of 4 June 1997 admitted an intentional double entendre and in an earlier press release drew attention to the product’s ‘provocative label’. The Panel noted that the Company in its submission of 30 June 1997 does not explain what is meant by the name, but states that it has been ‘misinterpreted’. However, it was also noted that the point of sale material quotes customers as saying ‘Gets a real laugh when you ask for it at the bar’ and ‘I think it tastes great – but I don’t get the name’. In a further letter dated 11 September 1997 the Company, contrary to its earlier admission, claimed that there was an unintended ambiguity surrounding the word “beaver”. The Company asserts that the product is aimed at the 18-26 year old consumer and that, in pre-launch market testing with that age group, no complaints about the name were made.
The Panel considered that having regard to the above the name of the product suggests sexual success, particularly when read with the product description ‘pure virgin spring water’.
Hence, the Panel considered that the name contravenes paragraph 2.1(f) of the Code.
The Panel considered that the point of sale material, which describes the product as ‘Rock’n Roll’n Tell’n Talk’n Yell’n Yawk’n Screech’n Squawk’n Scream’n Beaver’ is likely to appeal predominantly to under 18s by reason of its content and style of presentation and therefore contravenes paragraph 3(8) of the Code.
The Panel therefore upheld this complaint but was pleased to note that the Company had indicated its intention to redesign the label and point of sale material.
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