CollaGin rapped for anti-ageing claimsBy Annie Hayes
Industry watchdog the Portman Group has upheld two complaints alleging that gin brand CollaGin, which is distilled with collagen, wrongly implies it has “health and beauty benefits”.
Two complainants, both members of the public, labelled the gin’s branding – which features words and phrases including ‘The Elixir of Youth’, ‘beauty drink’, ‘rejuvenating’, ‘anti-ageing botanicals’ and ‘Skin & Tonic’ on the label – as “very irresponsible and misleading”.
The Portman Group Code rule 3.2(j) dictates that a drink, its packaging or promotion should not suggest that the product has therapeutic qualities or can enhance mental or physical capabilities.
Brand owner Young in Spirit asserted that ‘Skin & Tonic’ is not a health claim and did not imply a beauty claim, while ‘The Elixir of Youth’ is not a health claim and is in fact defined as a ‘mythical potion’.
The company added that stories about the product in the media were not based on the company’s press materials, and that they had not paid for PR or advertising.
The Independent Complaints Panel noted that some stories featured quotes from the company that made therapeutic claims and had been retweeted via the company’s social media account.
They agreed that this created “an atmosphere in which the drink was being associated with therapeutic effects” and that the company’s retweeting of stories was an endorsement of their content.
On the basis that “the packaging contained several references to the beneficial effects of collagen”, the panel concluded that it should not appear on the product label in its current form.
The panel ruled that, given the context of a product named after a combination of gin and collagen, the words and phrases on the label implied the product had therapeutic effects and therefore breached the code rule.
Young in Spirit has since contacted the Portman Group’s Advisory Service for guidance on appropriate changes to the product and packaging.
Of the ruling Camilla Brown, co-founder, Young in Spirit, said: “We have worked tirelessly with all governing bodies from day one of starting the business to adhere to their rules. We have changed our label, website, social media profiles and press releases to make sure we are within legal boundaries and yet they are still trying to hurt two women’s start up business. It’s ludicrous.
“We are not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes here, this is a gin distilled with collagen, aptly named CollaGin. We’re not saying it’s anti-ageing, it’s alcohol. What the press write is up to them, we can’t put pen to paper for the click bait headlines. We’ve created a fun, quirky product that makes people smile, tastes amazing and is causing a brilliant buzz in the spirits world.
“Why the Portman Group is spending so much time trying to damage our flourishing business is beyond me, but we hope our sales, constant press coverage and awesome feedback will speak for itself and this will be forgotten about soon as there is a lot more to worry about in the world.”
Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, Kay Perry said: “Alcohol cannot be marketed on the basis of any health claims and producers must be particularly careful not to create a link between alcohol products and any therapeutic claims such as anti-ageing properties or rejuvenating effects.
“If a producer is unsure, they can contact the Portman Group’s Advisory Service which is free and confidential. We are pleased that the company has contacted the Advisory Service for guidance on appropriate changes to the product and packaging.”
Licensees have been asked not to place orders for stocks of CollaGin with the existing packaging as shown after 29 October 2017.
The Spirits Business has approached Young in Spirit for comment.