Company: The Big Noise Drinks Co. Limited
Final Decision: 30 September 1997
Considered under the 1st Edition of the Code
“We believe the name and packaging of this product are more likely to appeal to under 18‘s than to adults.”
The Portman Group
Under Code paragraph 2.1(c)
Brand names and product descriptors should not be more likely to appeal to under 18s than adults through, for example, use of imagery of or allusion to under 18s culture.
Under Code paragraph 3(1)
The product’s alcoholic nature and its alcoholic strength are clearly communicated to consumers by clear indication on the package.
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: ‘SQUEAL‘: ‘a prolonged shrill sound, especially a cry of a child or a pig” and, ‘PERRY‘: ‘drink like cider made from juice of pears fermented‘.
In the context of sales in other parts of the UK, the Panel did not consider significant the Company‘s argument in its letter of 20 June 1997 that the name ‘Squeal‘ refers to ‘Squeal Pig‘ which, the Company claims, is the nickname for cider and perry produced in Herefordshire. However, the Panel considered that the name cannot by itself be regarded as more likely to appeal to under 18s within the meaning of paragraph 2.1(c) of the Code.
The Panel considered whether the use of the term ‘Perry‘, the statement of 4.9% ABV, and the use on the reverse of the 18 symbol together make sufficiently clear of the product. The Panel, having seen a sample and taking account of the Company‘s submission, considered that that test is not satisfied, particularly given that the term Perry is old fashioned and not well understood by many younger adults and minors as denoting an alcoholic drink. The Panel considered that familiarity with ‘Babycham‘ was not the same as understanding the word ‘perry‘. The Panel also noted that the listing of the fruits around the neck label makes no mention of the alcoholic content and that the 18s label only. The Panel was not persuaded by the argument that the bottle‘s design encouraged it to be turned round. The Panel did not therefore consider that the alcoholic nature of the product was clearly communicated and thus found that the packaging contravenes paragraph 3(1).
Furthermore, having carefully considered the Company‘s submissions of 20 June and 5 September, the Panel did not accept the Company‘s contention that the packaging does not predominantly appeal to under 18s in contravention of paragraph 3(8). The Panel considered that the packaging does so appeal, having regard to the representations of pigs as little piggies‘, the cartoon–style representations of fruit, the child–like colouring and lettering, the overall design of the bottle, and the use of the name ‘Squeal with that particular design.
The Panel therefore upheld the complaint in relation to the product‘s packaging under paragraphs 3(1) and (8).
Action by company
The company amended the product packaging in line with the Panel’s decision.