Inver House Distillers has agreed to redesign the packaging for its ready-to-drink Wee Beastie and Big Beastie brands following complaints to The Portman Group.
The responsible drinking campaign group’s independent complaints panel considered the grinning spider character to be “too attractive” to under-18s. It was also concerned about a warning stating: “Strictly for over-18s, adults only”, which it said was likely to have a particular appeal to under-18s.
But Anne Tavistock, the creator of Wee Beastie and the recently launched Cream Cutie, said she had already received advice by The Portman Group. “A competitor made a complaint when we launched Wee Beastie over five years ago,” she said.
“We were originally told to amend the cartoon spider but when we said it was our trademark we were allowed to leave it. We were advised at the time to put a warning on the bottle to inform that the drink was for adults, which is what has now been found in breach of the code.”
David Poley, The Portman Group’s director of compliance, said there wasn’t a problem in indicating a product should be for over-18s, but if the warning was overemphasised it could have the reverse effect.
“It should be clear if a product is alcoholic in the first place. It is not any one thing in isolation that needs to be changed in this case, but more of an adjustment of the overall look,” he said.