A complaint about the packaging of Cwtch Welsh Red Ale (330ml can) has been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel) for having a particular appeal to under-18s and indirectly encouraging immoderate consumption. A copy of the full decision can be read here.
The complainant, a member of the public, believed that the product wasn’t obviously alcoholic, due to the design, and also had a particular appeal to children.
When considering the image of the bear on the front of the can, and its positioning alongside the wording ‘Tiny Rebel’, the Panel agreed that the packaging indirectly encouraged immoderate consumption. The Panel also considered the prominence of the bear above the wording ‘Tiny Rebel’, in combination with the graffiti and swirling primary colours, caused the product to have a particular appeal to under-18s.
While considering the ruling, the Panel recognised Tiny Rebel’s social responsibility work in their local community and highlighted that they had not deliberately sought to create product packaging which had an appeal to under-18s.
The Portman Group also acknowledged the positive way in which the producer has engaged with the Advisory Service throughout the complaint process and welcomed its early commitment to respect the Panel’s ruling.
Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, John Timothy said:
‘‘I welcome the way in which Tiny Rebel Brewing Company has engaged with the Advisory Service throughout this process and their commitment to ensure the Panel ruling is incorporated into wider work to evolve the brand. While it was clearly not the intention of the producer to promote immoderate consumption, even indirectly, companies have to be extremely vigilant around themes that could be attractive to young people, particularly when designing 330ml cans which, in the UK, are traditionally associated with soft drinks.”
For more information please contact:
William Mills | External Affairs Officer
Notes to editors:
- The full ruling from the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel) can be read here and all complaint decisions made by the Panel are available on the Portman Group website.
- Summary of the ruling: “The Panel first considered the complainant’s concern that the product wasn’t clearly alcoholic. It noted that the words “ale” and “beer” featured on the front and side of the packaging, respectively, and concluded that that the alcoholic nature of the product had been made clear. The Panel also considered whether the packaging promoted anti-social behaviour (ASB), but noted that graffiti was increasingly seen as an art form, and was therefore not necessarily indicative of ASB. However, when considering the image of the slumped, dishevelled bear, which appeared intoxicated, and its positioning alongside the wording “Tiny Rebel”, the Panel agreed that the packaging indirectly encouraged immoderate consumption. The Panel also believed, the prominence of the bear above the wording “Tiny Rebel”, in combination with the graffiti and swirling primary colours, caused the product to have a particular appeal to under-18s. Therefore, the Panel upheld the complaint under Code rules 3.2(f) and (h) respectively”.
- For a high resolution product image please contact the press office.
- The Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks applies to all pre-packaged alcoholic drinks and the promotional activities of all drinks producers. A copy of the Code may be downloaded from the Portman Group website.
- The Panel, which hears complaints, is chaired by Jenny Watson. The other members of the Panel are: Rachel Childs, Claire Fowler, Daniel Jourdan, Graeme McKenzie, Professor Roy Light, Doreen McIntyre, Professor Isabel Szmigin and Elisabeth Ribbans. More information on the Panel can be found on the Portman Group website.
- Since the Code was introduced in 1996, the packaging and/or marketing of over 140 drinks have been found to breach the Code. In the case of a Code breach concerning a drink’s packaging or point-of-sale material, a timetable for implementing the necessary changes – not normally exceeding three months – will be supplied in writing to the company concerned. Retailers may be notified of the decision taken by the Independent Complaints Panel and requested not to replenish stocks or point-of-sale material of any product found in breach of the Code, after the date specified by the Code Secretariat.
- The Portman Group provides a free and confidential advisory service for alcohol producers to check products prior to launch and seek advice on responsible alcohol marketing. Over 2000 separate advice requests have been answered since 2010. Email: email@example.com.
- The Portman Group is the responsibility body for the alcohol industry. It is funded by its 9 member companies: AB InBev UK; Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands UK; SHS Drinks (formerly Beverage Brands UK); Carlsberg UK; Diageo GB; Heineken UK; Molson Coors Brewing Company UK; Pernod Ricard UK; Mast-Jäegermeister UK.