Tiny Rebel Brewing beer can banned

The Portman Group has upheld a complaint over the artwork on a can of Tiny Rebel Brewing’s Cwtch Welsh red ale, agreeing that its design breached its guidelines by holding particular appeal to those aged under 18.

The complainant, a member of the public, said that the product wasn’t “obviously alcoholic”, due to its design, and had a particular appeal to children. The can features the image of a teddy bear with text spray painted in bright colours.

Responding to the complaint, Tiny Rebel Brewing said the brew had been available in various forms since 2012, with the 330ml can version available since February 2017.

The company stated that their marketing was “aimed at no one group in particular and that they had never received a complaint about the branding of Cwtch up until this point”.

Addressing concerns that the design held a particular appeal to young people, the brewery said that the “use of colours and the psychedelic pattern were inspired by 1960s cliché and the Austin Powers film franchise”, although there were no direct references on the packaging.

It added that the can’s “20th century urban themes” were specifically intended was to over-18s, asserting that graffiti culture was a “relic of the past” and its reference on the front of the product packaging was designed to create a “nostalgic” appeal to adults, who recognised it from their teenage years.

However the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) of The Portman Group, a trade body that regulates responsible marketing of the drinks industry, disagreed, upholding the complaint and ordering the brewery to alter the beer’s packaging in accordance with its guidelines.

‘‘I welcome the way in which Tiny Rebel Brewing Company has engaged with the Advisory Service throughout this process and their commitment to ensure the Panel ruling is incorporated into wider work to evolve the brand,” said John Timothy, secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel.

“While it was clearly not the intention of the producer to promote immoderate consumption, even indirectly, companies have to be extremely vigilant around themes that could be attractive to young people, particularly when designing 330ml cans which, in the UK, are traditionally associated with soft drinks.”

The panel ruled that the can could no longer be sold in its current packaging.

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