Two complaints about CollaGin ‘suggesting anti-aging and beauty benefits' have been upheld by the Independent Alcohol Complaints Panel.
The complainants, both members of the public, believed that the use of phrases such as "the elixir of youth" and "anti-aging botanicals", as well as accompanying marketing slogans on the product website and social media, such as "skin and tonic", associated the product with therapeutic effects such as skincare, beauty and anti-ageing, thus breaching the Portman Group Code under rule 3.2(j).
The panel noted the product contained collagen, which is associated with beauty and anti-aging, and that the packaging included phrases such as "the elixir of youth" and "beauty drink". It also noted that quotes from the company in media articles and on their own social media channels created an atmosphere in which the drink was being associated with beauty and anti-ageing properties.
The panel agreed that the packaging suggested the product had therapeutic qualities or could help with the consumer's appearance in some way, and therefore upheld the complaint.
Secretary to the Independent Alcohol Complaints Panel, Kay Perry, said: "Alcohol cannot be marketed on the basis of any health claims and producers must be particularly careful not to create a link between alcohol products and any therapeutic claims such as anti-ageing properties or rejuvenating effects."
Camilla Brown, co-founder of CollaGin, said the company had worked with all governing bodies from the launch of the business and with the Portman Group throughout the process. She said: "We have changed our label, website, social media profiles and press releases to make sure we are within legal boundaries and yet they are still trying to hurt two women's start-up business. It's ludicrous.
"We are not pulling the wool over anyone's eyes here, this is a gin distilled with collagen, aptly named CollaGin. We're not saying it's anti-ageing, it's alcohol! We've created a fun, quirky product that makes people smile, tastes amazing and is causing a brilliant buzz in the spirits world. Why the Portman Group is spending so much time trying to damage our flourishing business is beyond me, but we hope our sales, constant press coverage and awesome feedback will speak for itself and this will be forgotten about soon. We are just two young woman trying to do something different and brave, and this could really hurt us."
The company contacted the Portman Group's Advisory Service for guidance on appropriate changes to the product and packaging, and the Portman Group has issued an alert, instructing retailers not to place orders for CollaGin in its current packaging after 29 October 2017.
Pictured: CollaGin founders Camilla Brown and Liz Beswick.
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