A member of the public submitted the complaint about Dark Conspiracy to the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP), which concluded that the image used was inappropriate and must be removed.
“There is a tough self-regulatory Code in the UK which stops alcohol being marketed through association with violent or aggressive behavior,” explained Henry Ashworth, chief executive of the Portman Group, which provides the secretariat for the ICP.
“Original and innovative marketing is a world-class British export and should not be stifled by regulation, but the alcohol industry must show, through a strict set of regulations, that it can market its products responsibly. Producers must exercise careful judgement in this area.”
Ramsgate Brewery, which is based in Kent, explained that the image – originating from a David Bailey photograph – had been chosen to reflect the style and origin of the beer and was meant to illustrate the name of the product, conjuring up thoughts of the famous conspiracy between gangsters, the press and politicians.
But the ICP concluded that, although the producer had not sought to intentionally associate the product with violence or aggressive behaviour, that there were ‘more appropriate’ images that could be used to illustrate the conspiracy connection.
Furthermore, the Panel felt that the Kray twins ‘were intrinsically linked with violence and aggression’ and were still relevant and contemporary figures. The fact that the company had used the image suggested that the company still thought they were relevant.
Ramsgate Brewery cooperated swiftly with the ruling, which is published in full on the Portman Group’s website.