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‘Red Army’ vodka inappropriate, regulator finds

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A "Red Army" vodka gift set with the main bottle modeled on a Kalashnikov rifle.

A “Red Army” vodka drink with packaging modelled on a Kalashnikov rifle has been found by regulators to be inappropriate.

It suggested an association with violent and dangerous behaviour, the body which oversees the UK code of conduct said.

Duncan McCausland, chair of the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) which oversees responsible retailing in Northern Ireland, said there was no place for this sort of irresponsible marketing of alcohol.

He added: “We believe that both the product’s name and packaging combined made an unacceptable association between alcohol and violent, aggressive and anti-social behaviour.”

He said such techniques contravened rules around the marketing of alcohol.

The ICP made a complaint to the Portman Group, which oversees the UK code for naming, packaging and promotion of alcohol, claiming the Red Army Vodka product was closely linked with violent, aggressive, dangerous or anti-social behaviour because its name and packaging were modelled on a Kalashnikov.

The Portman Group upheld the complaint and said the name Red Army and the packaging was inappropriate for an alcoholic drink as they suggested a link with violent and dangerous behaviour.

Its panel found the product to be in breach of its code.

Mr McCausland urged retailers not to stock the product in its current form of packaging after June 20 this year, the period allowed for the producer to change its branding.

He said: “There is no place for this sort of irresponsible marketing of alcohol and we are glad to see that a zero-tolerance approach has been adopted in this case.”

 

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