Jameson rapped for ‘encouraging irresponsible consumption’
by Melita Kiely
28th August, 2019
A complaint by Alcohol Change UK that Jameson Irish whiskey’s Barrelback promotion for the on-trade encouraged irresponsible consumption has been upheld.
The on-trade offer in question gave consumers the chance to buy a single measure of Jameson whiskey in a small metal barrel that could be hooked onto a pint glass.
Alcohol Change UK argued the promotion encouraged consumers to “try a measure of Jameson with your pint”, therefore adding an extra unit of alcohol to the approximate 2.5 units in a pint of beer. As such, the person’s alcohol intake would increase by around 40%.
The Independent Complaints Panel considered the complaint and believed that the majority of UK consumers would not be familiar with the serve and that the point-of-sale material looked “more akin to a chaser”, where the consumer would down the shot of whiskey before drinking the beer.
As a result, the panel said the point-of-sale material would need to “work harder” to communicate the “intended sipping nature” of the serve.
Furthermore, the panel said the words “no more either or” on the material suggested consumers did not have to choose between different drinks, and encouraged them to drink more alcohol than they would have otherwise.
However, due to the flat base of the barrel, the panel said it “did not urge ‘down in one’ consumption” as it could be placed on a surface and “consumed at intervals”. It also attributed this to the phrase “with your pint” that accompanied the sales material.
Taking this into consideration, the panel upheld the complaint under Code Rule 3.2(f) for “encouraging irresponsible consumption as the promotional material needed to communicate the sipping nature of the serve”.
However, the panel did not uphold the complaint under Code Rule 3.2(g) as it decided the promotional material did not “urge” consumers to “drink rapidly” or “down” a product in one go.
A spokesperson for Pernod Ricard UK said: “As one of the leading wines and spirits companies, Pernod Ricard UK is committed to the responsible marketing and promotion of its products.
“We acknowledge the Independent Complaints Panel’s decision and in light of this, we will ensure that future adverts of the Jameson Barrelback Whiskey clearly communicate a sipping message.”
The Portman Group reiterated the importance for producers to ensure any promotional materials do not “encourage irresponsible drinking”.
A spokesperson from the Portman Group commented: “This decision by the Independent Complaints Panel highlights that producers should ensure that promotions and point-of-sale material do not encourage irresponsible drinking.
“Producers should think carefully about what is conveyed by the overall impression of promotions and point-of-sale material and speak to our advisory service if in any doubt.
“We are pleased that Pernod Ricard UK will no longer be using this point-of-sale material and are obtaining advice from our advisory service on future promotions.”