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Metropolitan Police accuse beer brand of appealing to children

A complaint made by the Metropolitan Police against the artwork of a Mikkeller beer appealing to children has been upheld, forcing the brand to undertake a redesign.

The complaint against Mikkeller’s Side Eyes Pale Ale was upheld by the alcohol Industry’s Independent Complaints Panel, which deemed the design to be cartoon-like and reminiscent of children’s video game Minecraft.

The Met Police launched a complaint about the artwork’s appeal to minors. The complaint was upheld under rule 3.2, which states that a drink, its packaging or promotion, should not have particular appeal to under 18s.

However, the complaint was not upheld under rule 3.1, which dictates that the alcoholic nature of a drink should be communicated with absolute clarity.

The panel ruled that the beer’s alcoholic nature was clearly communicated, as the words ‘pale ale’ and the products ABV of 4.6% were visible on the label.

The artwork in question, which features an illustration of two figures, was criticised by the panel for featuring more than one character, which they ruled added to the childish appearance of the packaging. The can’s size was also compared to that of a Coca Cola product, which the Met Police argued furthered the appeal to minors.

Arguing in defence of the design, Mikkeller reasoned that it had collaborated with the respected artist and designer, Keith Shore, who had developed a Mikkeller-universe which aimed to refresh the way beer was branded.

The company explained that the colourful universe was introduced to make its products more appealing to more than just the typical beer consumer and to attract female consumers, with Shore creating unique artwork for modern adult consumers and not cartoons that would have a particular appeal to children.

In light of the panel’s ruling, Mikkeller stated that it would endeavour to work both with the Portman Group’s Advisory Service and internally prior to launching any new products.

According to The Morning Advertiser, Mikkeller has now implemented a redesign of the beer label in question. A spokesperson for the brand said: “It has, of course, never been the intention to make Side Eyes appealing to under-18s, and Side Eyes has never been targeted at under-18s.”

The beer brand came under fire earlier this year, as four female ex-employees came out with accusations of systemic, gender-based bullying at the beer company. Read more on that here.

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