AUSTRALIA – Billson’s Beechworth, an Australian drinks group, has accepted to rectify its vodka brand designs that may appeal to minors by an Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) panel, breaching the country’s marketing code.

The company was sued for marketing its vodka brands “Banoffee,” “Berry Jelly,” “Grape Bubblegum,” “Rainbow Sherbet,” and “Tropical Punch” in packaging that is not appropriate for an alcohol product due to the colors and product names used being similar to soft drinks and confectionery products consumed by minors.

“As a parent of children in this age demographic, the flavors/colors and descriptions of cordials are the same as the vodka drinks as well as soft drinks for consumption,” the complaint to ABAC read.

In the ABAC’s standard contained in Part 3 (b)(i) of the Code, alcohol marketing communication (which includes brand names and product packaging) must not have strong or evident appeal to minors.

The Company responded to the complaint by saying: “We’re currently undertaking a full review of our packaging and are committed to working closely with ABAC to ensure everything is compliant. We’ll accept the determination of the panel and work swiftly to rectify any breaches.”

Billson’s also made clear its intention to utilize pre-vetting and undertake ABAC training courses, in the future.

The ABAC panel explained that the packaging should not have had multiple bright colors in eye-catching designs and that the descriptions “bubble gum” and “sherbet,” are both confectionery items commonly consumed by children.

It also said the term ‘rainbow’ elevates the appeal of the rainbow sherbet product to minors, while the use of the names “bubble gum” and “sherbet” would likely contribute to an illusion of a smooth transition to an alcohol product for those younger consumers.

Nevertheless, the panel found the company’s fruit-flavored brand’s packaging does not breach the Code standard, noting that the overall design of each product can be mature in nature and not individually eye-catching.

The packaging background colors used are not bright and contrasting and the illustrations are subtle, and the heritage line drawing style is not commonly used in children’s products, books, or programs.

The use of the word ‘Vodka’ provides a strong alcohol cue such that the products would not be confused with a soft drink, the panel noted. In addition, the packaging does not contain features likely to appeal strongly to minors.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.