Slammers slammed by Portman code

Shooter and slammer will become banned phrases under the Portman Group’s latest code of practice.

The group has also ruled that drinks producers should not use any wording or imagery on products or marketing material that encourages rapid drinking. The code will apply from Jan 1.

Portman chief executive David Poley said: “Ultimately, the Independent Complaints Panel will judge if a drink’s marketing is in breach of the code. The panel could rule against drinks calling themselves shooters and slammers if they decide such names urge rapid drinking.

“To avoid that happening, we recommend that producers of these drinks re-brand them before the new rule comes into effect.”

Poley said he hoped drinks producers “will recognise the code is in their interests and will do what they need to do to abide by the code”.

He added: “For most product sectors the freedom to market products is a right, in the case of alcohol it’s a privilege. Like all privileges, if you stop being responsible, it will get taken away.”

Companies who incorporate the phrase within their company name – so are obliged to print it on packaging – have been advised to print it “with as little prominence as possible”.

The use of the phrase “shot” is unlikely to contravene the code as “it might also be taken to imply a small measure of drink rather than a particular style of consumption” according to the group.

The ruling comes after a public consultation, held between last October and January this year.

The code – the fourth produced by the drinks-industry-funded group - covers the name and packaging of drinks, press releases, websites, sponsorship, sampling, branded merchandise, advertorials and all other promotional material. It does not apply to alcohol advertising or POS materials generated by bars and clubs.