A well run promotion can give you the edge over your competitors.  When planning a campaign you need to take into account the various codes of practice on marketing, advertising and promotions which the industry has adopted.   Periodically we report on promotions which have failed to meet the requirements of these codes.

One such code is the Portman Group Code of Practice on Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks. The Code rules apply to the naming, packaging and promotion of all pre-packaged alcoholic drinks by drinks companies.  It does not apply to wholesale or retail lead promotions which should comply with the British Beer and Pub Association standards.  However, the BBPA document states that all on-trade promotions should also comply with the Portman Code.

In a recent case Kronenbourg were held by the Independent Complaints Panel – responsible for enforcing the Portman Code – to be in breach of the standards set out in the Portman Code because their promotion encouraged binge-drinking.
The campaign in question was an advert played between songs on the music streaming website Spotify.  The advert for Kronenbourg 1664 encouraged listeners to click through to their playlist of tracks which were specifically slowed down.  The idea was to link moderate alcohol consumption with a slower pace of life.  One of the tracks on the slowed down playlist was “Too drunk to ****” by the Dead Kennedys.  The ICP decided that the use of this track which referred to excess drinking linked the brand with immoderate consumption and therefore promoted irresponsible drinking.  Kronenbourg removed the track as soon as the complaint was brought to their attention.

This case shows that the Portman code is flexible enough to apply to advertising on the web and on third party websites.

There is another complaint currently being considered by the Independent Complaints Panel against Crunk Juice which is marketed as an alternative to wine and beer that will “leave you wondering what happened”. We will report the Panel’s decision once known.

For further information on the relevant codes of practice see Kimbells’ article “Is your marketing too sexy?”

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.