SLRRRP makes alcohol-infused gelatin shots. You can buy them in packages of twenty, which include a mixture of shot flavors, including "Strawberry Slammer," "Peach Bottom," and "Watermelon Guzzler."
Recently, a competitor challenged SLRRRP's advertising and packaging, arguing that SLRRRP was promoting its products in a manner that violated the Distilled Spirits Council of America Code of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol Advertising and Marketing. What were the issues?
The challenger argued that some of the visual elements of SLRRRP's packaging and marketing materials -- in particular the orange, dripping font -- were similar to the visual elements of products made for children, including Nickelodeon Slime. The challenger argued that, because of this, SLRRRP violated Responsible Content Provisions 2 and 3, which prohibit materials that, "primarily appeal to individuals below the legal purchase age" and "depict a child or portray objects, images or cartoon figures that primarily appeal to persons below the legal purchase age." DISCUS agreed that the visual elements were problematic, saying, "the label design on the SLRRRP packaging features a similar dripping font element with colors, such as orange, that are reminiscent of the Nickelodeon Slime brand’s imagery."
The challenger also claimed that some of SLRRRP's social media posts, which included animated animals, also violated those Code provisions. DISCUS agreed that an animated blue dinosaur crossed the line, but said that an animated "hogzilla" image did not. DISCUS said it was concerned about the dinosaur in particular because it was brightly colored, it exclaimed "BLUE SLRRRP!,” and was animated. DISCUS warned that, "while the use of animated figures is not in and of itself a violation, caution should be exercised when using such images to ensure they do not primarily appeal to individuals below the legal purchase age."
Another issue in the challenge was whether the product names, such as "guzzler," "slammer," and "smash," and other language used by the brand to promote the product, such as "let's get weird," "level up," and "get rad," violate the Code's prohibition on promoting over-consumption of alcohol. DISCUS didn't have a problem with the language used, except for "guzzler," which it said promoted irresponsible consumption.
And what about that pool party, which shows people swimming and jumping into a pool? Does it violate Responsible Content Provision 20, which prohibits showing "beverage alcohol being consumed by a person who is engaged in, or is immediately about to engage in, any activity that requires a high degree of alertness or physical coordination"? DISCUS concluded that it did.
Although the video didn't show any actual alcohol consumption, DISCUS felt that consumers would understand the video to be communicating that people were consuming SLRRP while they are swimming, which DISCUS said "requires a high degree of alertness." DISCUS pointed to the fact that the video showed a person in the pool balancing an open container on their head, an individual jumping into the pool with the container, and an individual floating in the pool with the container in hand. DISCUS wrote that it, "urges caution when utilizing imagery in advertising materials to ensure that beverage alcohol consumption is not portrayed in connection with any activities that would require a high degree of alertness."
DISCUS reported that SLRRRP said that it would comply with the decision and make appropriate changes to its marketing and packaging materials.
Whether you're developing your next alcohol advertising campaign, planning to spend some time at the pool this weekend, or just finding other ways to enjoy the long weekend, stay safe!
"The Board urges caution when utilizing imagery in advertising materials to ensure that beverage alcohol consumption is not portrayed in connection with any activities that would require a high degree of alertness"