Gun-shaped Red Army Vodka bottle bannedBy Amy Hopkins
A vodka brand bottled in a gun-shaped container has been banned from being sold in the UK by a regulatory body which deemed the product “inappropriate”.
Red Cross Army vodka, owned by Polish company Bartex Bartol, is contained in a plastic bottle shaped like a Kalashnikov rifle, which alcohol responsibility standards authority the Portman Group found to suggest “an association with violent and dangerous behaviour”.
The group investigated the product after receiving a complaint from the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) of the Responsible Retailing Code of Northern Ireland.
The ICP claimed: “The packaging and name of the brand are both entirely inappropriate for an alcoholic drink as the public would immediately associate the product with the AK-47, which as a weapon, symbolises terror and violence, and hence has a direct association with violence, aggression and danger.”
According to the Portman Code, “a drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way suggest any association with bravado, or with violent, aggressive, dangerous or anti-social behaviour”.
The Portman Group therefore upheld the ICP’s complaint and has given Red Army Vodka until the 19 June 2014 to change its packaging.
Until then, Duncan McCausland, chair of panel that oversees the Northern Ireland Responsible Promotion and Retail of Alcohol Code, has urged retailers in Northern Ireland not to stock the product in its current packaging.
“There is no place for this sort of irresponsible marketing of alcohol and we are glad to see that a zero-tolerance approach has been adopted in this case,” he continued.
Red Cross Vodka is presented in a gift pack which also features a grenade-shaped glass and six shot glasses.
Brand owner Bartex defended its product by claiming that it was “simply just a glass bottle in the shape of a gun, sold as a gift pack, and that it had nothing to do with weapons or violence”.
UK retailers have been instructed by the Portman Group not to order or stock Red Army Vodka in its current packaging after 20 June 2014.
The news comes less than one month after a branding agency in Russia unveiled a new missile-shaped vodka bottle.