UK: "Viagrapop" drink courts controversy
A vodka and passionfruit combination, branded by some newspapers a "viagrapop", will be the first in the Roxxoff range to hit the market with brandowner, Lynch Wines, forecasting sales of 120m bottles in its first year.
The 5.4% abv vodka RTD includes Chinese medicines purported to boost libido and sexual performance. It has also been reported that planned raunchy advertising, possibly featuring Dannii Minogue, will reflect the brand's particular proposition.
However, Roxxoff is certain to attract adverse attention from industry watchdogs. The Scottish group, Alcohol Focus, formerly the Alcohol Advisory and Counselling Service, has already spoken out against the new product. "We wholeheartedly disapprove of Roxxoff, which claims to enhance the libido," said Jack Law of Acohol Focus. "It sends out a completely irresponsible message to the young drinkers it is aimed at and will only increase the likelihood of binge drinking and unsafe sex."
Roxxoff is expected to fall foul of the regulations set down by the industry-sponsored Portman Group on drinks labeling and marketing. Previously products have been censured when brands have attempted to make a link between consuming the drink and sexual success. With such a blatant connection being claimed, it is almost inconceivable that Roxxoff will not be heavily censured.
However, Chris Williams of Roxxoff said that the company was in consultation with the Portman Group and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Williams said that the pre-publicity now being seen was premature, claiming in a rather apt choice of words that the company "had been caught with their trousers down". With the launch still two months away, the final product and proposition would conform to the Portman Group guidelines, Williams said.
"What I can say is the final sell of the product, what we are going to present to the Portman Group and the ASA is nothing like what is on the website now," Chris Williams of Roxxoff told just-drinks.com. "The whole sell will be very different when we bring it to market and we are 100% confident that it will meet with the approval of the Portman Group and ASA."
The company does indeed say on its website that "We at Roxxoff wholeheartedly support the Portman Group and their role in the alcohol industry. It is our intention to adhere to Portman Group Code of Practice."
However, the Portman Group Code of Practice stipulation that the brand name, descriptor, packaging, labeling and point of sale material should not in any direct or indirect way "suggest sexual success or prowess" would seem to put the entire Roxxoff proposition, as it has been currently understood, in contravention.
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