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www.wkd.co.uk

23/06/2003
Company: Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd
Breach: Yes

Complaint Summary:

“The Forum believes the website is aimed at encouraging a tolerance of the ‘red-blooded’ male agenda, and promotes a ‘lad-culture’, ‘binge-drinking’ image. The Forum feels it is irresponsible to promote a mental acceptance that alcohol consumption leads to sexual and social success and popularity, and believe that the ‘pole dancing’ section and the ‘breast matching game’ are prime examples of this.”

Complainant: 

Stirling Substance Forum

Decision:

Under Code paragraphs 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 activity or sexual success.

UPHELD

Under Code paragraphs 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.

UPHELD

Under Code paragraph 3.2(b)

A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way suggest any association with bravado, or with violent, aggressive, dangerous, anti-social or illegal behaviour (though sponsorship of activities which may be dangerous after alcohol consumption, such as motor or yacht racing, are not in themselves in breach of this clause).

NOT UPHELD

Under Code paragraph 3.2(e)

A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way suggest that consumption of the drink can lead to social success or popularity.

NOT UPHELD

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.

NOT UPHELD

The Panel’s assessment:

The Panel considered that neither a specific part of the website nor the site as a whole suggested any association with bravado, or with violent, aggressive or anti-social behaviour.  Hence the Panel did not find the website in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(b).

The Panel considered that neither a specific part of the website nor the site as a whole suggested that consumption of the drink could lead to social success or popularity.  Hence the Panel did not find the website in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(e).

The Panel considered that the neither a specific part of the website nor the site as a whole encouraged illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as binge-drinking, drunkenness or drink-driving.  Hence, the Panel did not find the website in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(f).

The Panel considered that the combined effect of specific parts of the website, including a section where users could put together a short film using video clips of a pole dancer ‘WKD Wendy’ and several electronic postcards including one featuring three pairs of intertwined feet and the caption ” Me, your mum and your sister!” and another featuring a picture of a pole dancer with the caption “Baby, you can grease my pole any time you like”, was to associate the product with sexual success.

Hence, the Panel found the website in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(d).

The Panel considered that the website as a whole, particularly those sections with sexual allusions including the lap dancer film, “the nipple game” (a memory game where users matched pictures of breasts and other objects such as melons) and several electronic postcards, had a particular appeal to under-18s.  Hence, the Panel found the website in breach of Code paragraph 3.2(g).

The Panel raised no objection to the producer seeking to promote its brand in a cheeky and irreverent way. It considered, however, that the producer should take greater care to ensure that, in doing so, it did not adopt such an overtly sexual and/or puerile approach that is caused the website either to associate the product with sexual success or to appeal to under 18s.

Action by Company: 

The company agreed to make certain changes to the website following the Panel’s decision.