The UK industry funded association, the Portman Group has published its third code of practice on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks. This forms part of its programme to encourage the responsible marketing of alcoholic beverages. The revised code on marketing standards follows an extensive consultation period across the drinks industry and associations invlolved in health, education, misuse and the police. Jean Coussins commented The code has been a very effective piece of self regulation for the past six years. We have swept over 60 products off the market because their design appealed to children or encouraged anti-social behaviour. We ahve got rid of products with pictures of ilegal drugs on the label, products in containers shaped like bullets, test tubes, syringes and ice pops and drinks named after kids cartoon characters. Now we are plugging another regulation gap and extending the code to wider promotional activity. for example, teddy bears bearing alcoholic drinks branding will not be acceptable.Neither will brand websites that encourage dangerous drinking games... Alcoholic drinks masquerading as foodstufs, such as jelies or ced shapes, will have to comply with the Codes requirements, as will draught drinks.
The code is supported by over 120 companies which produce or sell alcoholic drinks, they are also encouraged to use the Group as a source of advice on new products to avoid making mistakes in thefirst place. Code complaints are heard by an independent Complaints Panel chaired by Lord Condon, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner.Lord Condon welcomed the revised Code and encouraged drinks producers to continue their commendable level of compliace with its compliance. Lord Condon comments - If a complaint against a products packaging is upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel, producers withdraw or modify it very quickly. It has been virtually impossible to market a product successfully if it is out of line with the code. This is becuase most retailers support and uphold the Code of Practice.