Pernod Ricard pulls Absolut from Revolution calendar

Pernod Ricard has pulled its Absolut vodka brand from a charity calendar that features “real-life bar staff” posing seductively in lingerie.

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The calendar, created for the Revolution chain of vodka bars, has been reprinted after Pernod Ricard asked for its flagship brand to be removed. Other “sponsors” involved include Wyborowa, Zubrowka and 42Below.

Each month features a different member of staff in a sexy pose with a brand of vodka. April, for example, is illustrated by a girl pouring vodka over herself next to text stating “Here’s to April showers”.

Revolution head of online marketing Andy Windsor says that “due to an administrative error” it did not have “approval from one of our suppliers”.

He adds: “When this was brought to our attention we immediately withdrew the calendar and have reprinted an updated version.”

Alcohol industry body The Portman Group says drinks producers should be wary of allowing their brands to appear in promotions that link alcohol with sex.

David Poley, chief executive of The Portman Group, says that its marketing code does not extend to retailer-generated promotions but that it “expects drinks producers to take all reasonable measures to ensure their brands are not promoted recklessly”.

He adds: “It should make absolutely no difference that the calendar is for charity; good causes do not justify the abandonment of social responsibility.”

Current broadcast and non-broadcast advertising codes, administered by the Advertising Standards Authority, forbid alcohol brands being linked with sexual success or seduction.

However, marketing communication online, which could include the “making of” the calendar film clip on a Revolution micro site, will not be covered until 1 March.

Pernod Ricard UK marketing director Vlastimil Spelda says it is “firmly committed to marketing our brands responsibly through its own strict marketing code” that incorporates industry, regulatory and its own standards.

The brewer recently launched a joint anti-drink driving campaign with motoring association the AA. It has also just launched a responsible drinking campaign for its Malibu brand.

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