Company: SAB Enterprises
Final Decision: 10 January 2012
Considered under the 4th Edition of the Code.
“Suck & Blow Jelly Shots are basically alcoholic jelly shots but in a tube, with screw lids on both ends, and involve a game whereby one person has to blow into one end of the tube, and the other person has to suck on the other end. … I believe they breach the code on a number of levels, not least by encouraging the user to down it in one by default. Unlike other test tube shots, there is no way someone could only drink part of the product, the whole contents have to be consumed immediately and quickly. The brightly coloured ´fun´ nature of this product also looks attractive to young people.”
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 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 drink-driving, binge-drinking or drunkenness.
Under Code paragraph 3.2(g)
A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way urge the consumer to drink rapidly or to “down” a product in one.
Under Code paragraph 3.2(h)
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 company’s submission
The company explained that the product was designed so that one person blew half the contents of the tube into the receiver’s mouth while the receiver sucked, and then the receiver blew the remaining contents back to the other person. The product could be consumed by one person and it was an individual’s choice as to whether to involve a partner. The company asserted that the product was low in strength; originally it was 13% ABV and it had been reduced to 10% ABV. It acknowledged that the packaging was multi-coloured so that it could achieve stand-out on shelf-space but denied that this led the product to have a particular appeal to under-18s.
The Panel’s assessment
The Panel first considered whether the product encouraged irresponsible or immoderate consumption. The Panel acknowledged that one tube contained only 0.5 UK units. Accordingly, it did not find the product in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(f).
The Panel then considered whether the product packaging urged the consumer to ‘down’ the product in one. The Panel felt the product’s design, where one person blew the contents into another person’s mouth, lent itself to being ‘downed-in-one’. Accordingly, it found the product packaging in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(g).
The Panel then considered whether the product’s packaging had a particular appeal to under-18s. The Panel felt that the childish font in which the brand name was written, in combination with the bright red and blue colours and the novel design of the packaging meant that overall the product would appeal particularly to under-18s. Accordingly, the Panel found the product in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(h).
Finally, the Panel considered whether the name had associations with sexual success. The Panel considered that the name ‘Suck & Blow’ had clear connotations of sexual activity and, accordingly, found the product in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(d).
Action by Company
The company agreed to consult the Portman Group’s Advisory Service for guidance on appropriate changes to the packaging.