Drinks companies rapped for marketing of alcopops

Bass, Whitbread and Allied Domecq have all come under fire from the drinks industry’s watchdog for irresponsibly marketing alcopops.

The latest report from the Portman Group is sure to embarrass a number of blue-chip brewers, which set up the association in 1989 and jointly fund it.

The report includes decisions on complaints about 17 products, 13 of which have had complaints upheld against them.

It comes just before the introduction of a revised code, strengthened in scope and enforcement powers, on September 1.

Allied Domecq and Sainsbury’s are criticised for using packaging that would appeal to children on products called Barking Frog and Alcoholic Lemon Drink respectively. Both companies say they had withdrawn the drinks, before the Portman Group’s adjudication, as a business decision.

An Allied Domecq spokesman says: “Barking Frog was introduced before any code in these areas. But we are very supportive of the Portman Group and this report shows the code works.”

Bass’s alcoholic fruit drink Red is slammed because the alcoholic nature of the drink is “not made clear on the front label”, as required by the Portman Group’s code. Bass has agreed to redesign the label.

Meanwhile, Whitbread is criticised for using the words “24 hour discotonic” to promote its drink Wild Brew.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here