Photo: Sweet Little

Liqueur company Sweet Little Drinks said it will go for a rebrand after the Independent Complaints Panel of the Portman Group today upheld a complaint expressing concern on its appeal to children.

The complaint was referred to the Portman Group, the responsibility body for drinks producers in the UK, from the Advertising Standards Authority. It contended that the brand appears to promote alcohol to children through the labels, artwork, product names, the colouring and bottle shapes, along with the brand name “Sweet Little.”

“Whilst we are happy that the Independent Complaints Panel accepted that we never intentionally aimed our products at children, we are also very grateful that the Panel have identified that these products may appeal to under 18s,” said Hani Fashhou, chief executive of Sweet Little Drinks.

“We are now working very closely with The Portman Group’s Advisory Service to comply with the Code and rebrand Sweet Little Drinks, which will be ready to launch in the very near future.”

The complaint covered the products Sweet Little Glitter Bubble Gum Gin Liqueur, Sweet Little Glitter Bomb Love Heartz and Sweet Pink Vanilla Candy Floss Gin Liqueur.

The Independent Complaints Panel said the products “may have a particular appeal to children and look like part of a children’s confectionary range.” The panel also noted that they could be mistaken for a bubble bath product if placed in a home environment.

The logo, with a young girl’s face, conveys the impression that brand was not targeting an adult market, it added. The panel also found the Love Heartz brand as particularly appealing to teenage girls.

The panel concluded that the cumulative impact of “sweetie” cues on each individual label, together with the “Sweet Little” band name and logo, had unintentionally created a particular appeal to under 18s in each case.

Commenting on the decision, a Portman Group spokesperson said: “This decision by the Independent Complaints Panel highlights once again that producers should steer away from using imagery in marketing and labelling that could have particular appeal to children.

“Producers should think carefully about what is conveyed by the overall impression of the product and speak to our Advisory Service if in any doubt.”