Greenhill Beverages is changing its branding after complaints that it looked too much like a children’s cartoon. Photo/Ellen Thompson
The makers of a pre-mixed alcoholic drink are to change the packaging after complaining that it looked too much like a children’s cartoon book.
The complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority raised concerns that boxes of Greenhill Seltzers vodka could make the drink appealing to minors.
“I recently went to a liquor store and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a product that literally looked like my kids’ comic books. I thought it must be illegal…” , wrote the complainant.
“How is this company allowed to package and promote products that clearly have children’s cartoons all over their products? All of them. Please do something about it,” reads- one in the complaint.
The drinks company was started by two young Kiwis and has been present in New Zealand liquor stores since 2019.
The limited-edition mixed pack featured five animal characters in an underwater scene. Each can of vodka contains 6% alcohol.
An ASA decision released in June ruled that the beverage brand was appealing to children.
“Alcohol companies have a social responsibility when it comes to targeting the right audience,” the decision states.
“Alcohol advertising and promotion content, including theme, images, wording, music and language used in the promotion, must be targeted only to adults.”
The ASA rules also mention that the mark should not be confused with confectionery, soft drinks or other non-alcoholic products.
The ASA president agreed to take the complaint to the board, but Greenhill opted to remove its ad to prevent the complaint from proceeding further.
“The advertiser has committed to the process and said it takes social responsibility seriously in marketing its alcohol products.
“The President recognized the advertiser’s cooperative commitment to the process and the self-regulatory steps taken to modify its packaging,” the ASA President said.
A spokesperson for Greenhill Beverages told Open Justice they are in the process of rebranding and removing all current boxes from liquor stores.
“All boxes bearing this mark will be removed by November.
“We really want to minimize the chances of having another complaint like this again.”
Greenhill said the ad was based on raising awareness of marine life, with 10% of profits going to marine scientists to protect marine life.