Company: Round Imports
Final Decision: 14 October 1996
Considered under the 1st Edition of the Code
“The name of this product suggests an association with violent, aggressive, dangerous and anti-social imagery and behaviour given the common perception of dynamite and its use in bringing about destruction. Also the container of this drink is designed to look like a stick of dynamite with a pull incorporated within the design. This therefore mimics something which is predominantly associated with anti-social and dangerous behaviour. The gimmicky nature of the container is also more likely to appeal to under 18s than to adults.”
Under Code paragraphs 2.1.5
That names should not suggest an association with violent, aggressive, dangerous or anti-social imagery or behaviour.
Under Code paragraphs 3.7
That containers do no mimic containers or shapes predominantly associated with anti-social imagery or behaviour.
Under Code paragraph 3.8
That packaging and point of sale materials should not predominantly appeal to under 18s.
The company’s submission
The company rejected the complaint entirely and said that there is absolutely no evidence that the product has either caused or been associated with violent, anti-social or aggressive behaviour. They said that unless the complainant can demonstrate a pattern of misbehaviour and destruction associated with their product then their claim fails and there is no case to be answered. The company supplied an indicative list of achievements for dynamite (the explosive) and pointed out that its use had always been beneficially more for the social good than anti-social. They referred to A.B.Nobel and the Nobel prizes.
The company said that the closure ring in no represents the pin and spring mechanism of a grenade and that the complainant’s words ‘gimmicky’, ‘mimic’ and ‘appealing to the young’ can not in any way hold. They said that a pull cap closure is used as the most effective seal available for bottled beverages.
The Panel’s assessment
The Panel considered the company’s response and concluded as follows:
Code sections 2.1.5 and 3.7 – The fact that the complainant cannot demonstrate that the product caused dangerous behaviour is not relevant. The Code refers to associations with dangerous imagery or behaviour. It is imagery that is of concern. The Panel was clear that a reasonable person looking at TNT Liquid Dynamite packaging, including the product name, coudl reasonably conclude that there is an association with dangerous behaviour – the product is designed to represent a stick of dynamite with the fuse lit. The Panel did not accept that the ring pull on this product was reminiscent of the pin of a hand grenade.
Code section 3.8 – The Panel did not feel that the overall impact of the packaging would appeal predominantly to under 18s.