The Portman Group’s Independent Complaints Panel has rapped Spar for indirectly encouraging daily drinking over the use of the phase “everyday wines” in a series of recent press releases.
Alcohol Concern Wales complained that Spar’s phrasing in two releases alluded to drinking the product every day, contradicting the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines saying that people who drink regularly should have alcohol free days.
The Independent Complaints Panel acknowledged that the press release was targeting a retailer audience rather than consumers, and that the term ’everyday’ was used to pitch the product as a lower priced wine.
However, both press releases used the wording “everyday drinking”, linking the messaging to daily consumption of the product.
The panel felt that unintentionally or not, the phrase was generating a correlation between low price and the acceptability of daily alcohol consumption.
It advised that companies should carefully examine the language used in brand communications regardless of intended audience, and ruled that Spar could have used a different phrase to categorise the range.
Spar confirmed that they would no longer use the term ‘everyday wine’ in either consumer or retailer facing communications following the ruling.
“At Spar we take the responsibility of retailing alcohol very seriously,” said Spar head of brand Cath McIlwham.
“The use of the term was intended to explain the price positioning of the wine range in question and not to be communicated to customers or to encourage increased alcohol consumption. We have taken steps to ensure this phrase will not be used again in any of our communications either to consumers or retailers. Spar remains committed to the responsible sale of alcohol.”
Independent Complaints Panel secretary John Timothy added: “I welcome the constructive manner in which Spar has approached this complaint and their commitment to respecting the decision of the Panel. While it was clearly not their intention to use the phrase ‘everyday drinking’ with shoppers, today’s ruling highlights the need for retailers as well as producers to show considerable care around the language they use in their marketing materials, regardless of the intended audience.”