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Portman Group drinks rulings

The Portman Group has ruled against a wine brand for using “objectifying and demeaning” artwork on its bottle.

A complaint against Quickie wine, which is made by Australian winemaker Some Young Punks, was made to the watchdog by a member of the public who argued it was sexist and that the brand’s name “could encourage excessive or fast consumption” of the drink. 

The drink went before the watchdog’s Independent Complaints Panel, who ruled its artwork – which features a woman in lingerie – risked causing “widespread offence”.

“The panel considered that the gratuitous, sexualised image of the woman on the front of the bottle was objectifying and demeaning to women and caused serious offence based on gender and sex,” it said, citing rules in its code that state drinks should not “suggest any association with sexual activity” or “cause widespread or serious offence”.

However, it did not agree that the brand’s name encouraged rapid consumption, and instead had been used in reference to sexual activity. 

The Grocer has approached Some Young Punks for comment. 

A second product, Little Pomona Table Cider, was also brought before the panel, after a member of the public argued the illustration of a “little girl” on its pack and the use of the word “little” in its name was problematic.

However the panel decided its branding was not “particularly immature, cartoonish or childlike” and was not likely to have “particular appeal to under-18s”.

It also ruled that as the age of the character was ambiguous, the branding did not breach its rule 3.2(i), which states that branding should not depict anyone “under 25”.

The panel decided that the use of the word “little” was not problematic in this context and that “the clearly printed abv and descriptor ‘Table Cider’, meant it was clearly an alcoholic product.”

Susanna Forbes, co-founder of Little Pomona Orchard & Cidery, said: “We have always taken the issues of both responsible drinking and the prevention of under-age drinking very seriously.

“We’d like to thank the Portman Group for taking into account our company’s ambition to elevate the profile of cider using appropriate language and imagery,” Forbes added.

Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, Nicola Williams, said that both rulings were “fair and reasonable”.

“We continue to diligently apply the stipulations of the code, including when assessing two very different products against a varying range of rules”, she added.

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