M&S debuted its canned cocktail Porn Star Martini in September 2018, but its launch faced criticism for ‘normalising porn’.
Alcohol industry regulator The Portman Group, which is funded by eight drinks giants, expressed concern that the term Porn Star ‘links the alcoholic product to sexual success because porn stars are idolised as people who have sexual success and are paid for doing so’.
It referred its concerns to its Independent Complaints Panel, which acknowledged there was nothing else on the packaging to create an association with sexual activity, but concluded the use of the name alone was enough because of the established definition of a porn star.
While the passion fruit and vodka cocktail is commonly known as a porn star martini – the name was not created by M&S – the Portman Group noted that other retailers and online sites use the name ‘passion fruit martini’ and thus M&S did not need to use the term ‘porn star’ to describe its product.
On this basis, the Panel accordingly upheld the complaint against the product under Code Rule 3.2(d) - that no drink should, in any direct or indirect way, suggest any association with sexual activity.
A Marks & Spencer spokesperson said: “Porn Star Martini is a common name for a passion fruit cocktail drink. Our product launched in September 2018 and quickly became one of our most popular cocktails. However, as a Portman Group co-signatory, we respect the ruling and will be changing the name to Passion Star Martini.”
The Portman Group is the UK’s alcohol industry regulator and is funded by eight member companies: Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands UK; Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I; Carlsberg UK; Diageo GB; Heineken UK; Mast-Jäegermeister UK; Molson Coors Brewing Company UK; and Pernod Ricard UK.