Zymurgorium Forced Darkeside Rhubarb Gin Liqueur, Flamingo Tears and Pixie Tears complaints not upheld

14/03/2019

A complaint about Zymurgorium Forced Darkeside Rhubarb Gin Liqueur and two Firebox products, Pixie Tears Gin and Flamingo Tears Gin has not been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel.


On Zymurgorium Forced Darkeside Rhubarb Gin Liqueur:

The complainant, a member of the public, thought that the product’s ‘cartoon characters’ and ‘sci-fi’ designs were based on imagery from Star Wars and therefore may appeal to children and didn’t convey its alcoholic content clearly enough.

The Panel considered the product under several Code rules: appeal to under 18s, featuring people who are or look as if they are under 25, communicating alcohol content clearly and a drink not suggesting any association with bravado or violent, aggressive, dangerous or anti-social behaviour. In its assessment, the Panel discussed Star Wars’ cross-generational appeal, due to its status in popular culture, and did not believe that this would cause this particular product to have a particular appeal to under-18s.

The Panel noted that the bottle featured sufficient indicators of its alcoholic nature such as ABV and the words ‘gin-based liqueur’, and therefore was unlikely to mislead consumers with regard to its alcoholic nature.

The Panel then considered the two figures in the centre of the front label, who were fighting with duelling sticks in a fantastical context and whether there was any association with violent, dangerous or aggressive behaviour. The Panel concluded that the fight-scene was not violent. Finally, the Panel considered whether the two illustrated characters were, or appeared to be, under 25 years of age.  The Panel considered that there was no basis for this view.

On Pixie Tears Gin and Flamingo Tears Gin:

The complainant, a member of the public, raised concerns that the images used on the bottles appealed to children.

The Panel considered each product independently. For Flamingo Tears, the Panel acknowledged that while flamingos may have some appeal to the teenage market they actually appeal to a broader market. The Panel then considered the imagery. It noted that the image was a mature, stylised black-outline illustration of a flamingo and the product font was staid. While acknowledging that the liquid had a shimmering effect and the label included references to ‘magic’ in the context of making the product shimmer, the Panel considered that, on balance, the overall design of the product was unlikely to have a particular appeal to under-18s.  

In reviewing Pixie Tears, the Panel considered whether the product had a particular appeal to under 18s and had any suggestions of therapeutic qualities.  The Panel noted that the line drawing of the pixie appeared in the context of a fairly simplistic label design - the artwork was sophisticated and the pixie line drawing had a mature art-deco feel to it. This, coupled with the adult flavour pairing (elderflower and cucumber), meant the product was unlikely to hold a particular appeal to under-18s. The Panel pointed out that use of fairies on labelling could hold potential appeal to children depending on the type of imagery used. In this instance they did not consider it to be problematic because it was not akin to a more cartoon-style image of a fairy which could appeal to young children.

The Panel then considered whether the text suggested the product had therapeutic qualities. The product’s back label included the sentence ‘swirl to release their mischievous powers’. The Panel concluded that the line was being used in reference to the shimmer of the liquid as opposed to suggesting that the product had ‘mischievous powers’ and accordingly did not uphold the product under Code Rule 3.2(j).