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Portman Group quashes Buzzballz complaint

A complaint against Buzzballz Cocktails claiming the range appeals to children has been dismissed.

Buzzballz Cocktails
The ICP ruled the packaging does not appeal to under-18s

The Portman Group’s Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) ruled a trio of Buzzballz products – Buzzballs Choc Tease, Buzzballz Strawberry ’Rita, and Buzzballz Chili Mango – did not appeal to under-18s.

The complaint was not upheld against four Code rules. First of all, the ICP noted the packaging had ‘clear positive’ cues displaying the products’ alcoholic content, including its 13.5% ABV.

All three products have flat bottoms, meaning they can be put down and do not encourage consumers to drink rapidly.

The overall colour scheme was deemed to not appeal to minors. Furthermore, the packaging did not suggest that the contents would change a consumer’s mood or generate a ‘buzz’ – though the panel did not this was ‘close to the line of acceptability’.

Nicola Williams, chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, said: “Alcohol brands must be conscious of their overall brand identity and name, and how these elements contribute to the individual product’s overall impression.

“This decision demonstrates that brands can innovate in a responsible manner and be mindful of the code rules while standing out on shelf.”

Earlier this month, a report by UK watchdog the Portman Group found 85% of complaints about alcohol packaging and marketing were related to appealing to children.

In May 2022, the body updated its guidelines for alcohol labels to include the low-risk drinking recommendations set by the UK’s chief medical officers.

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