Beverage Brands was told to remove the Mugshots section from its WKD website showing photos of promotional staff posing with members of the public at WKD-sponsored events after the group's independent complaints panel received a
query from Alcohol Concern.
The panel agreed that the photos associated the product with social and sexual success and showed people who looked under 25 and may have been drunk. Beverage Brands has since removed the section from its website.
Portman Group chief executive David Poley said: "With the growing popularity of websites, it is crucial that images shown are appropriate. It is common for companies to use pictures of consumers enjoying their drink in promotional materials . But, in doing so, they should avoid showing anyone who may be drunk or looks under 25 - and they must not imply that drinking makes people socially or sexually successful."
A special "help note" has been created for companies with websites to ensure content does not go against the code of practice on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks.
"Beverage Brands has moved quickly to change the website, but the panel's decision has ramifications for the rest of the industry. Our new help note should enable companies to stay on the right side of the code. We urge marketers to consult this and, if in doubt, to approach our advisory service for confidential advice," said Poley.