Portman rejects Asda vodka complaint

A complaint that Asda is targeting children through its marketing of a range of vodka-based drinks has been rejected by the Independent Complaints Panel, which makes decisions under the Portman Group’s Code of Practice.

Images of creatures, including a scorpion and a lizard, appear on Asda’s brightly coloured 70cl bottles. Flavours in the vodka-based range include dandelion and burdock, raspberry and vanilla and tropical twist.

A member of the public complained that the packaging would have particular appeal to under-18s which is banned under the Portman Group’s Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks.

The Independent Complaints Panel, chaired by Sir Richard Tilt, decided that the marketing does comply with the Code.

Portman Group chief executive David Poley said: “Asda was accused of using images of creatures on colourful bottles which would have particular appeal to children. Asda has successfully defended its marketing. The Panel accepted that the images were merely outline drawings and that the marketing was not targeted at under-18s."

He added: “Our advisory service is busier than ever which demonstrates the influence the code continues to exert on the marketing activities of drinks producers. But we urge people to remain alert and to report any concerns about alcohol marketing to the Independent Complaints Panel. Complaints help to keep drinks producers on their toes and provide an important test of their compliance.”