Company: Cotts Beverages
Final Decision: 11 May 1998
Considered under the 2nd Edition of the Code.
“Clause 3.1(h)(f). The style of lettering on the label is cartoon–like and is likely to appeal to under 18s. The label on the back of the bottle explains a drinking game, the forfeit for which is buying the next round of spoofs‘. Drinking games are associated with heavy drinking and this game is likely to encourage irresponsible or immoderate consumption such as binge drinking”.
Under Code paragraph 3.1(f)
The brand name, product descriptor, packaging (including any containers and any external wrapping), labelling and point of sale materials of any alcoholic drink 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 3.1(h)
The brand name, product descriptor, packaging (including any containers and any external wrapping), labelling and point of sale materials of any alcoholic drink should not in any direct or indirect way be more likely to appeal to under 18s than adults through, for example the use of artificially bright colours or style of lettering predominantly associated with under 18s.
The Panel did not consider that the lettering used on the label was predominantly associated with under 18s, or that it would be more likely to appeal to under 18s than to adults. Thus, the Panel did not uphold the complaint under paragraph 3(8) of the Code.
Although the Panel accepted the company’s claim that the game “Spoof” was played in other contexts, it considered that the rear label of the product clearly links it with the well-known drinking game of that name. In the Panel’s view, the presentation of the product took advantage of the pub game to encourage immoderate consumption and binge drinking, and the Panel was in accord with a finding by Willy Pederson of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oslo that during drinking games “the individual member loses control and steering of his/her own consumption to a large extent” [“ Drinking games adolescents play“: British Journal of Addiction (1990) 85, 1483-1490. Full article enclosed).
Accordingly the Panel upheld the complaint under paragraph 2.1(4) of the Code.
Action by company
The company removed the product from the UK market.