Herbal liqueur breaks Portman rules

22 June, 2012

The makers of a herbal liqueur have been asked to change their marketing because it made medical claims about the drink.

Cellar Trends complained to the Portman Group about Dr Von Hyde’s Herbal Liqueur, saying the use of the word “Dr” and phrases in promotional material such as “things will just feel better”, “medication for the masses” and “cure for all”, suggested the product could enhance mental and physical capabilities.

Importer Poison Distribution denied that the product was marketed as something that could enhance physical or mental capabilities, and noted that the salutation “Dr” was commonly used without any misconception of medical benefits.

The Portman Group’s independents complaints panel ruled that the use of “Dr” did not seek to position the product as a medicine. 

But it said claims on the promotional material such as “for top patients only” and “potions, preparations and cures” did position the product as a medicine and so breached its code of practice.

Portman chief executive Henry Ashworth said: “There is a tough self-regulatory code in the UK which stops alcohol being marketed on the basis that it can enhance physical or mental capabilities. The code is not in place to smother creative marketing, but the alcohol industry must abide by the regulations and demonstrate they can market their products responsibility.”

Poison Distribution has agreed to work with the Portman Group’s advisory service to change its promotional material.




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Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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