M&S Porn Star Martini links alcohol to ‘sexual success’

27th August, 2019 by Melita Kiely

A complaint that Marks and Spencer’s ready-to-drink Porn Star Martini cocktail linked alcohol to “sexual success” has been upheld.

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The Porn Star Martini is a popular cocktail choice (pictured: London Cocktail Club Porn Star Martini)

The Portman Group acted in lieu of a member of the public who expressed concern over the use of the words ‘porn star’ on the product, arguing the phrase was known to refer to those “idolised as people who have sexual success and are paid for doing so”.

The Independent Complaints Panel upheld the complaint but noted there was nothing else on the packaging, besides the name, to suggest any relation to sexual activity.

However, the panel compared the product to other retailers and online recipes for the drink, including on the BBC website, which called the same alcoholic drink a ‘Passion Fruit Martini’. Therefore, the panel concluded, Marks and Spencer “did not need to refer to the drink as ‘Porn Star Martini’.

A spokesperson from Marks and Spencer said: “Porn Star Martini is a common name for a passionfruit cocktail drink. Our product launched in September 2018 and quickly became one of our most popular cocktails.

“However, as a Portman Group co-signatory, we respect the ruling and will be changing the name to Passion Star Martini.”

The complaint was upheld under Code Rule 3.2(d), which states no drink should, in any direct or indirect way, suggest any association with sexual activity.

A spokesperson for Portman Group commented: “This decision by the Independent Complaints Panel reminds producers that they should always steer away from using imagery or names that are associated with sexual activity in marketing and labelling.

“Producers should think carefully about what is conveyed by the overall impression of the product and speak to our advisory service if in any doubt.

“We are pleased that the Marks and Spencer Group have been working with us to amend the name of the product.”

Earlier this month, a study showed one in three Brits disapprove of “sexually suggestive” cocktail names such as Sex on the Beach and Porn Star Martini.

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