Burts Guinness flavoured crisps have been cleared of breaching alcohol marketing rules after a complaint was made by a member of the public to the Independent Complaints Panel.
The complainant raised concerns that the crisps could appeal to young children because they were stocked alongside other ranges and that the packaging therefore breached alcohol responsibility rules. Although the crisps contained no alcohol, they were still eligible to be considered under the Portman Group's code of practice on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks, as 'branded merchandise produced in partnership with an alcoholic drinks producer' is covered. However, the panel ruled there was nothing on the packaging which directly appealed to under-18s.
Chief executive of the Portman Group, Henry Ashworth, said: "Alcohol producers must be rigorous in ensuring their product marketing, or any joint marketing venture, does not appeal to under-18s. In this case, Diageo GB's approach was not found in breach, but if alcohol producers are in any doubt they should contact the Portman Group's free and confidential advisory service at the earliest concept stages to seek advice on responsible alcohol marketing."
The panel considered whether the packaging breached Rule 3.2 of the code, which states that "a drink, it's packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way have a particular appeal to under-18s". It was ruled that Diageo GB had chosen its partnership carefully, with a high-end brand from the artisan snack category, and with a target audience of the over-40s.
Diageo GB said the company's decision to proceed with the partnership with Burts Chips had been entered into with the principle of the company's marketing code in mind, which prevents any form of marketing to under-18s.