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Asda cleared of marketing vodka to children

Published:  23 July, 2008

UK: The Portman Group has rejected a complaint that superstore ASDA, part of Walmart, was marketing a range of vodka-based drinks to children.

The drinks watchdog's Independent Complaints Panel, which advises on the Group's Code of Practice, said images of creatures, such as a scorpion and a lizard that appear on ASDA's brightly coloured 700 ml bottles, was not in breach of the code.

A member of the public from Lincolnshire complained that the packaging would have particular appeal to under-18s which is banned under the Portman Group's Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks.

The flavours in the vodka-based range including dandelion and burdock, raspberry and vanilla and tropical twist, were also brought into question.

The panel, chaired by Sir Richard Tilt, former director general of the Prison Service, decided that the marketing does comply with the Code.

David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group, the social responsibility body for drinks producers, says complaints about drinks marketing are vital:

"ASDA was accused of using images of creatures on colourful bottles which would have particular appeal to children.

"The panel accepted that the images were merely outline drawings and that the marketing was not targeted at under-18s.