Top marketing campaigns and news: October-November

Portman Group upholds complaint against ‘irresponsible’ cider branding

Drinks regulating body the Portman Group has told retailers not to sell a cider from Newquay because its packaging seems to “irresponsibly” play on suicide.

Called “Suicyder”, the cider is made by The Bearded brewery in Newquay, and comes in at a high 7.8% ABV.

The product name ‘Suicyder’ also appeared in combination with a human skull, a noose and the wording “juice from the noose”.

A member of the public submitted a complaint to Portman, arguing that the wording and imagery, along with the relatively high alcoholic content, makes a “clear association between their cider and the dangerous act of suicide.”

The complainant said the packaging was “reckless and dangerous in the extreme”.

The company had stated in its defence that the noose was meant to reflect the owner’s previous career as a tree surgeon, where a noose was used to dismantle unsafe trees.

The Bearded Brewery also pointed to previous partnerships with charities, which included contributions to Rotary, Lions and Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).

However, the panel said consumer would have to understand this inside knowledge to “displace the main connotation portrayed by the product name and imagery on the front label and that most consumers would be unaware of this link.”

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